News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters Fire District planning for earthquake

The Cascadia Subduction Zone Fault runs 600 miles from California to British Columbia. The fault lies about 70-100 miles off the Oregon Coast and is responsible for several 9.0 and above earthquakes. The last Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake occurred on January 26, 1700. Governor Brown is declaring the week of January 26 through February 1 Cascadia Earthquake Preparedness Week.

Residents are encouraged to have a plan for an extended disaster, and to have supplies on hand to last two weeks. Oregon Office of Emergency Management has information about how to be “two weeks ready” on their website at How to be two weeks ready .

Fire Chief Roger Johnson said, “It is important for us to ensure we are able to provide emergency services to those in need during times of natural disaster.”

The board of directors and staff are working together to ensure the agency and the community are well prepared for any type of disaster. While weather events or wildland fires occur more frequently, the basic tenets of disaster preparedness are the same.

Fire District staff are focusing on three planning goals for the coming year. The three areas are: continuity of operations, community preparedness, and emergency actions during the disaster.

Like most agencies and businesses, the Fire District receives most of its supplies and fuel from the west side of the state.

Experts have identified that many of the normal transportation routes will be interrupted after a Cascadia event.

The Fire District is working closely with Deschutes County Emergency Management to ensure that critical services and supplies are available after a Cascadia event.

Materials such as medical supplies, food for emergency responders, fuel for vehicles and heat for the fire station will be critical.

Services such as power, water and sewer, telephone and Internet access and the 911 center, are all very important services for emergency responders.

The Fire District expects to experience an increased demand for services after a Cascadia event.

Ensuring the agency is able to receive 911 calls and has the needed staff and supplies to render aid is


The Fire District is also focusing on community preparedness as a critical link in limiting the impacts from a Cascadia event. The Fire District will host community forums on preparedness and will also distribute preparedness information throughout the coming year.

The Fire District is also planning to participate in the Great Oregon ShakeOut exercise in October. The exercise is the largest earthquake preparedness exercise in the world. The Fire District is hopeful that the community embraces preparedness efforts as it can help reduce the impacts on emergency responders who will be overwhelmed during a Cascadia event.

Lastly, the fire district is evaluating and updating all emergency operations procedures relating to natural disaster response.

Chief Johnson said, “We know the emergency response system will be taxed during this time. We need to ensure our staff and volunteers are prepared, and have the resources they need.”


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