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Cascadia Subduction Zone Exercise 2016: Cascadia Rising

The potential National Level Exercise for 2016 is a magnitude 9.0 earthquake.

This past week I attended an exercise planning meeting for Cascadia Rising, which is the name of the 2016 Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) exercise that will be held in June 2016. This was a joint meeting hosted by FEMA Region X and the Washington State Emergency Management Division.  

There were many more federal agency representatives in attendance than those from local or state agencies.

My notes from that event:

Cascadia Subduction Zone Exercise (CSZ) — Cascadia Rising 2016

Core principle: Jointness

Expect this to be a National Level Exercise with many organizations playing. 

Survey results from the kick-off meeting identified six top priorities:

  • Operational Communications
  • Public Health and Medical Services
  • Mass Care Services
  • Situational Assessment
  • Critical transportation or all critical infrastructure?  
  • Operational Coordination
Tentative Dates: Week of June 6, 2016 (four days)

Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, magnitude 9.0. Ground shaking to last up to five minutes. Tsunami wave height 20 to 80 feet with multiple waves. This is a functional exercise.

Focus on EOC to EOC operations and ability to coordinate.

Oregon will play in parallel with the exercise, not using Washington objectives, etc.

Compressed time will be part of the exercise in order to bring in federal military assets. Ardent Sentry is the name of the NORTHCOM exercise that will be happening concurrently.

"Select private partners" can play if they sign the extent of play agreement. They want organizations to play either days one and two or two and three, or play all four days.

Next exercise design milestones:

  • Aug. 15: Design committee membership applications and signed extent of play agreements
  • Aug. 29: Exercise design governance structure with names solidified
  • September: Exercise players list finalized
  • September: Joint exercise objectives published
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.