By Capt. Jim Kusz-Public Info, Ed & Safety Officer
June 14, 2011
The first few weeks following Japan's Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11th, 2011 the natural disaster S.E.T. "Severe Event Training" classes offered freely to the public surged in attendance. The first public class after the event had 56 individuals attend one Saturday morning; I expected no more than 20. Each class and public meeting presentation after that had a strong showing but, as the weeks went on the attendance dropped to as few as a dozen as we got further from the event.
It is human nature, I guess, to be concerned about preparing for natural disasters as they recently occurred and to be less proactive as time moves our collective memory further from the event.
The events in the news lately with the devastating tornado in Joplin, Missouri, the flooding throughout the Midwest, the massive Arizona wild fire and record high temperatures in the eastern and southeastern part of the country maybe recent yet, for many living in the Pacific Northwest seem so far away, and "it can't happen here" mentally or just denial because those events have happened here. Now I've seen this time and time again, people go on alert (and prepare after the fact) when a terrible event occurs. The Aumsville tornado and roof being torn off the Sea Horse Motel in Lincoln City last January heighten folk's awareness… for a few days. It is as if people view nature as a "war time threat" and after the threat passes we are at "peace" with nature again and no need to be prepared for the next attack.
The Oregon coast is a beautiful place to live and one reason it is so beautiful (especially in the summer months) is because nature forged the landscape through natural weather and catastrophic tectonic events over the course of geologic time.
Climatologists, meteorologists, and hydrologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) compiled list of the world's most notable weather, and climate events.
One thing seems clear we are having "weird" weather. Droughts and floods seem more frequent and events from worldwide volcanic activity to the 2004 Sumatra tsunami killing an estimated 250,000 and the March 9.0 magnitude quake in off the coast of Japan with the death toll passing 18,000 is changing the way we view our planet.
We need to take into account we do have a lot more observers in the world to record events (and fall victim to them). In 1964 when March 27th, "Good Friday" Alaskan 9.2 magnitude earthquake and tsunami occurred 147 people died (16 in Oregon and California) but the world population was an estimated 3,039,451,000 at the time. We now have twice as many, an estimated 6,921,974,000 (over 3 billion more) people occupying the planet just 50 years later. It may be time to take resource management and personal preparedness' seriously.
To assist in understanding and prepare for what natural threats visit our region; the Severe Event Training program and free S.E.T. book helps you plan and create different strategies for your unique situation and gives life-saving information on severe weather, flooding, wild-land fire, earthquake and tsunami preparedness for your family and your community.
It is the goal of Oregon Emergency Management, the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Tsunami Outreach Organizers and, Depoe Bay Fire and North Lincoln Fire & Rescue to assist our coastal friends and neighbors to be prepared.
If your organization, neighborhood association, service club or faith based group wants to host a free S.E.T. presentation please give me a call. Being prepared is your responsibility and now is the time to prepare during the calm before the next "severe event".
Play Safe at the Beach, Jim Kusz / Captain Public Information, Education & Safety Officer Serving Depoe Bay and North Lincoln Fire & Rescue's Districts 541-996-2233 Office 541-992-5763 Mobile
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