Northwest Disaster Conference Coincides With Sandy Aftermath

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PORTLAND – As Superstorm Sandy barreled down on the East Coast Sunday, there was a massive earthquake off the coast of British Columbia. It didn’t get much attention. But both events were reminders to prepare for the long-term impacts of natural disasters. That’s the message coming out of a regional conference in Portland this week.

When Saturday’s earthquake off Queen Charlotte Island first happened, some emergency managers worried it would cause a huge tsunami along the Pacific Coast, just as Sandy approached the Eastern Seaboard.

“That is something that is a worst case scenario, where you have major destructive events occurring simultaneously in different parts of the country,” says Dick Balnicky from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He’s participating in the five-day Resilience Northwest conference.

The meeting features workshops on subjects new to disaster planning like volunteer diversity and using social media. Organizer Alice Busch says community resilience is all about identifying how your survival skills tie in with everyone around you after a disaster.

“This conference is going to give people the tools for their toolbox to insert themselves somewhere in that system of emergency management.”

The disaster planning conference had its own disruptions. Many experts scheduled to speak canceled so they could assist with Superstorm Sandy.

Resilience NorthWest 2012

Earthquake summary (NOAA)

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

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A 7.7 magintude earthquake struck off the coast of British Columbia on Saturday. Image via NOAA hide caption

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