Seattle to participate in Cascadia Rising exercise

The City of Seattle joins state and federal partners in this week’s regional training exercise to simulate an emergency response coordination following a 9.0 earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The FEMA simulation, Cascadia Rising, is the largest-ever regional exercise and is designed to test government agencies in readiness, emergency response, and coordination of humanitarian services and recovery of efforts.

“This training will be the largest the City has ever participated in and will help increase Seattle’s resiliency,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Last month I visited Kobe, Japan, and saw first-hand the devastation, recovery, and lessons learned from the 1995 earthquake. As a City, it’s our duty to ensure we are prepared to save lives and lead the way to recovery.”

The Cascadia Rising exercise begins today and ends June 10. The Seattle Emergency Operation Center (EOC) will join the exercise and activate on June 8 and 9 with more than 300 staff from nearly all City departments participating. From the EOC, the Mayor’s Emergency Executive Board, City Departments and key agencies will respond to operational scenarios and implement disaster management plans.

“The City has a chance this week to test and improve response plans instead of waiting to see if they’ll work in an actual earthquake.  It’s time to apply what we’ve learned in recent years from New Zealand, Japan and elsewhere,” added Barb Graff, Seattle Office of Emergency Management Director.

Participants will be presented with simulations involving fire containment, search and rescue, diagnosing and repairing utilities, clearing transportation routes, and establishing disaster relief services. None of these exercise or operations will be visible to the public. On Saturday, June 11 the Seattle Fire Department will conduct helicopter drills from the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 as part of the exercise.

The City has been designing its role in exercise for more than two years in coordination with King County, Washington state, military, and federal authorities.