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Cascadia Rising 2022 planning underway

A look at part of the 2016 exercise.

Local and federal officials joined the Washington Emergency Management Division to officially kick off the planning efforts for Cascadia Rising 2022 this week. The exercise slated for June 2022 builds on the previous exercise of the same name and takes another look at how response and recovery from a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake might turn out.

After the 2016 exercise, Washington state changed its messaging to encourage residents to be “2 Weeks Ready” and many agencies, including the Washington National Guard, were able to field test plans to see what worked and what didn’t.

Maj. Gen. Bret D. Daugherty and Washington Emergency Management Division Director Robert Ezelle.

A concept and objectives meeting was conducted on Camp Murray on Dec. 4 to give local jurisdictions a chance to chime in on what’s expected for the exercise and to make sure everyone remains on the same page as the exercise ramps up in a couple of years.

Local, state and federal agencies, tribal nations, private sector and non-governmental organizations across three states - Washington, Oregon and Idaho - will be participating in the four-day Cascadia Rising 2022 Exercise. Other key partners include the National Guard and the U.S. Department of Defense.

"It's not just about the exercise for us," said Army Maj. Gen. Bret D. Daugherty, the director of the Washington Military Department and commander of the Washington National Guard, who also gave a presentation on the matter to the National Guard Bureau. "We really want to be prepared for the day an actual earthquake hits. The better prepared and the more assistance we can get from Guard Bureau will only make us stronger, and it is really beneficial for the citizens of our state."

The exercise’s objective is “to plan, organize, equip, train, exercise for responding to and recovering from a catastrophic incident resulting in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage or disruption severely affecting the population, infrastructure, environment, economy, morale and/or government functions.”

Army Col. Kevin McMahan, with the Washington National Guard's Joint Force Headquarters, speaks with WA EMD Response Section Manager Chris Utzinger and Alysha Kaplan with King County.

The exercise will be known commonly as “CR22,” and will be considered a National Level Exercise for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. A National Level Exercise allows for different agencies to practice focused disaster recovery through a series of preliminary training events. The exercise not only improves the way FEMA helps people before, during and after disasters, but provides an invaluable experience that improves preparedness in all areas of public and private life.