Cascadia Rising: Local leaders take part in round table to discu - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Cascadia Rising: Local leaders take part in round table to discuss eastern WA response to big earthquake

Posted: Updated:

RICHLAND, WA - The big one is coming. It's not a matter of if - but when. A four day earthquake drill is happening June 7th - 10th involving the whole northwest and hundreds of different agencies. It's called Cascadia Rising. Eastern Washington took part in it Tuesday with the Cascadia Subduction Zone Region 8 Tabletop Exercise in Richland.

The setup of Cascadia Rising is eerie. A record hot weekend with lots of events going on. Then, the Big One hits.

"So the key issues on day one are a magnitude 9.0  earthquake and tsunami have occurred along the Cascadia Subduction Zone with a magnitude of 5.0 felt over here," said emergency response coordinator Melissa Lantz.

Tuesday to Friday agencies, volunteers and service members from all over Oregon, Idaho and Washington are simulating what to do. Eastern Washington won't be as hard hit as other places but it will likely be a place for survivors to retreat to. 
"I believe this is one of the biggest earthquake drills we've ever had," said Lt. Col. Chuck Riley of the National Guard. 

Riley is based at Fairchild near Spokane. He's just one of a massive group of service members, health care leaders, emergency management, Red Cross and more who spent much of Tuesday talking about what they would do with a huge influx of patients as hospitals on the west side will likely be compromised. 

"It's important that we get together because we know it's going to involve a massive response effort and partnerships at every level," said Riley.

People from Walla Walla, Benton, Franklin, Klickitat, and Yakima Counties all took part in the round table.

"When an emergency does occur, it's important that we know what to expect from others and we form a very strong, cohesive team to respond to the incident," said Rick Edwards, Regional Emergency Response Coordinator for Region Eight. 

This sort of training - both locally and regionally - are beneficial for any type of disaster. The Guardsman said some of this response training is already being used often for things like wildfire responses.