Oregon Adds Emergency-Supplies Guide to Disaster Resilience Efforts

The Takeaway: Already, 10 jurisdictions have incorporated tsunami considerations for safer land-use plans. Now, all of Oregon’s coastal communities have “disaster cache” guidance to increase local survival odds in the wake of tsunamis and earthquakes.

Waves roll into a rocky shoreline, where a group of homes stand nearby.
Oregon coastal communities are becoming more resilient to tsunami and earthquake threats because of planning assistance from the Oregon Coastal Management Program and other partners. Photo credit: Oregon Coastal Management Program

In the next 50 years, a major earthquake in Oregon stands a one-in-three chance of producing a tsunami that strikes the coast and its 22,000 residents within 15 minutes. Communities can use a new planning guide to set up their “disaster-cache” supplies and logistics, which would provide basic survival resources until government agencies and other help could reach the devastated areas. This guide builds upon planning efforts undertaken by 10 jurisdictions to reduce tsunami-related risks to life and property via grants, a land-use guide, and early risk-reduction outreach administered by the Oregon Coastal Management Program.

Major partners in developing the disaster-cache guide include the Oregon Coastal Management Program, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Oregon Office of Emergency Management, and Oregon Sea Grant. Funding was provided by the NOAA National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The report’s easy-to-follow process can be used by communities to customize their “caches” for clean food and water, shelter and warmth, search and rescue operations, medical aid, traffic control, and other needs. It also addresses cache sizes, security, distribution, and insulation or ventilation as needed. Disaster-cache case studies, and 75-plus illustrations and diagrams, are included.

Steps to greater safety

The guide is an added benefit to Oregon’s coastal communities as they plan and prepare for a tsunami. Community-level planning has been completed in 10 jurisdictions that have adopted tsunami hazard overlay zones into their land-use plans, and several other communities are working on it currently. The overlay zoning limits critical-facility development within tsunami inundation areas and requires evacuation design improvements. Many jurisdictions also improved their evacuation facilities.

The original tsunami planning funds came from the NOAA Office for Coastal Management’s Project of Special Merit and Regional Coastal Resilience grants. Oregon’s Coastal Management Program contributed funds that aided development of the disaster-cache guide. This program also continues to collaborate with each community on land use planning and community evacuation needs. (Original story 2016/Updated 2019,2020, and 2022)

Partners: City of Florence, City of Gearhart, City of Newport, City of North Bend, City of Port Orford, City of Reedsport, City of Rockaway Beach, Coos County, Douglas County, Tillamook County, Federal Emergency Management Agency, NOAA National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, Oregon Coastal Management Program, and Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries