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Washington National Guard conducts statewide earthquake readiness exercise

UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from the Washington National Guard's 66th Theater Aviation Command conduct deck landing qualifications with the help of the U.S. Navy's USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier near Port Angeles in March as practice for the Washington National Guard's Evergreen Tremor exercise .

Washington National Guard to conduct statewide readiness exercise

Contact: Karina Shagren
Phone: (253) 512-8222

CAMP MURRAY, WA – Local communities will see members of the Washington National Guard (WANG) this week testing their ability to respond to a catastrophic Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake and tsunami. Evergreen Tremor – a weeklong exercise kicking off June 17th – will involve more than 1000 Washington National Guard soldiers and airmen across the state, as well as local, state and federal emergency response agencies.

The exercise scenario will test the WANG’s earthquake response plan, and will involve training exercises at Camp Murray, the Shelton Fairgrounds and Airport, the Satsop Industrial Park, the Seattle Armory, King County, Mason County, Grays Harbor County Emergency Operations Centers and Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane. On June 23rd – the State Emergency Operations Center at Camp Murray will fully activate to help support the exercise. 

Guards members will train on the following operations:

  • Dual Status Command, the process in which National Guard and Active Duty soldiers work together under one Commander;
  • Joint operations between the state and county emergency operation centers and the National Guard;
  • Joint Incident Site Communications Capabilities (JISCC) operations, which will provide phone and internet services to areas that have lost communication abilities

Additionally, soldiers and airmen will exercise their ability to relocate the Washington National Guard’s Joint Operations Center to Eastern Washington, and set up tactical operation centers in other parts of the state. In the event of an actual CSZ earthquake and tsunami, damages will likely significantly reduce the capabilities of emergency operation centers in Western Washington.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone extends from northern California to Vancouver Island. The tectonic plates that make up the Cascadia fault have become wedged together, building energy that will eventually release. When that happens, the coastline could experience a possible magnitude 9.0 earthquake and a devastating tsunami. Scientific evidence indicates that a magnitude 8.0-9.0 earthquake occurs along the 800-mile long CSZ fault on average once every 200 to 500 years. The last major earthquake and tsunami along the fault occurred over 300 years ago in 1700.

Along with Evergreen Tremor, the WANG will participate in Cascadia Rising in June of 2016. Conducting successful life-saving and life-sustaining response operations in the aftermath of a Cascadia Subduction Zone disaster will hinge on the effective coordination and integration of governments at all levels – cities, counties, state agencies, federal officials, the military, tribal nations – as well as non-government organizations and the private sector. One of the primary goals of Cascadia Rising is to train and test this whole community approach to complex disaster operations together as a joint team.

The citizen-soldiers and airmen of the Washington National Guard are dedicated to the mission of safeguarding lives and property in Washington State and serving as sentinels for freedom overseas.