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Sea Grant Recieves Disaster Preparedness Grant


U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced that Oregon State University will receive nearly $160,000 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for disaster preparedness, innovation and education. The Oregon Sea Grant project through OSU will focus on increasing tsunami and earthquake awareness and resilience through innovation and education. Tourists and locals will benefit from education tools, community supply caches, and engaging activities to recognize, respond to, and recover from these coastal disasters. Tracy Crews, who works as a marine educator for OSU’s Oregon Sea Grant program in Newport lead this two-year emergency preparedness effort.


According to Crews some of the specific componants of the grant include designing a prototype and field-testing an innovative device that attaches to community caches to detect major earthquakes and provide a warning system and beacon to lead the public to safety, while also ensuring timely access to the supplies within. Developed through a partnership with OSU’s Innovation Lab, this device could be scaled up for broad distribution, increasing survivability in coastal regions. This device will run off solar power and will be equipped with an accelerometer to detect a significant earthquake and subsequently unlock community caches, while also triggering an alarm system to direct residents and visitors to the caches and assembly areas. This device will also be equipped with a flashing light which will serve as a beacon to lead people up to the cache.


Crews will also be working with residents of coastal communities to create new Tsunami Quests that help residents and tourists gain increased situational awareness about local tsunami hazards and evacuation routes, and prompts additional preparedness actions. This grant will support the Oregon Coast Quests Coordinator to work with community groups to create additional site-specific Tsunami Quests which will then be tested by local students and volunteers. Final products will be shared with the public and community partners, and will reinforce educational messages that tsunami safety and situational awareness is important anywhere along the Oregon Coast. Copies of Tsunami Quests will be available online, as well as provided to hotels, businesses, and other local partners to increase dissemination.

Part of the grant Crew said will also allow partnering with organizations to host community Prepare Fairs that provide opportunities for public engagement and empower targeted audiences to become more personally prepared. Each unique event will engage participants with a variety of resources and activities, and will share local resources to increase preparedness and build local capacity through hands-on trainings, build-a-go-bag workshops, and tsunami evacuation hikes. Community networks and organizations will be further strengthened at these events through Emergency Alerts signups, “Map Your Neighborhood” sessions, and presentations from local groups on how to get involved.





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