Scientists say there is a 30 percent chance of a massive earthquake and tsunami striking the Pacific Northwest in the next 50 years. One way coastal residents and visitors can prepare for such a disaster is to learn evacuation routes.
A new video from Oregon Sea Grant, “Tsunami Quests,” reveals how the program is helping coastal residents and visitors prepare. One way it does this is by teaching people how to create and use self-guided evacuation routes modeled after a treasure hunt.
In these hunts, which are called Quests, walkers follow a map and a series of educational clues about their surroundings to reach higher ground. At the end, they find a hidden box that contains a guest book and rubber stamp to mark their accomplishment. The aim is that by exploring these routes for fun in their free time, residents and visitors will later know where to flee in the event of a tsunami.
In February 2016, Oregon Sea Grant (OSG) organized a series of workshops at the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) in Newport, Oregon, to bring educators, state parks personnel, researchers and emergency management experts together to discuss how communities can prepare for tsunamis. Participants also learned how to help students create a tsunami Quest.
In the spring of 2016, workshop attendees imparted their knowledge to 120 Newport seventh-graders at HMSC. The students listened to presentations from engineers and geologists, studied tsunami inundation maps and interpretive signs, calculated how fast they would need to walk to escape, and learned about soil liquefaction. They also walked an evacuation route that starts at the OSG-operated Visitor Center at HMSC, which is expected to be flooded during a tsunami, and ends about a mile away, atop Safe Haven Hill. The students created a Tsunami Quest for that route and tested the activity on community members and two classes of fifth-graders in Newport. Their Quest is online (“HMSC Tsunami Quest,” http://bit.ly/2s0O1YI). To date, nearly 300 people have walked the HMSC Tsunami Quest.
Partners in the Tsunami Quests effort include the Lincoln County School District, Oregon State University, Oregon Parks and Recreation, Hatfield Marine Science Center, the Gray Family Foundation, and the OSUEA Hoecker Award.
You can watch the three-minute video here:
Tsunami Quests was filmed and edited by Vanessa Cholewczynski and Tiffany Woods.