Lieutenant Colonel Clayton Braun leads a team that would respond to an earthquake. (AP)

Lieutenant Colonel Clayton Braun leads a team that would respond to an earthquake. (AP)

Would bridges like this one in Portland, Oregon be destroyed? The team thinks ahead. (AP)

Would bridges like this one in Portland, Oregon be destroyed? The team thinks ahead. (AP)

John Vidale shows a quake warning system at the University of Washington. (AP)

John Vidale shows a quake warning system at the University of Washington. (AP)

A Washington State Army National Guard team goes through its disaster response plans. (AP)

A Washington State Army National Guard team goes through its disaster response plans. (AP)

Military and police helicopters take part in a training exercise in Washington state. (AP)

Military and police helicopters take part in a training exercise in Washington state. (AP)

Planning for the “Big One”

Posted: March 1, 2016

“Trust God and keep the powder dry.” That’s an old military saying. Proverbs 21:31 is similar. “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” Both share an idea. God is in control. It is still good to be ready to take action if needed.

Scientists and U.S. military are getting ready. They are planning for what could happen if a giant earthquake occurred. They are watching the Cascadia fault in the Pacific Ocean.

A fault is a place where the Earth’s plates meet. The Cascadia fault is 650 miles long. It lies under the ocean floor. Shifting plates can slide against one another or pull apart. Either movement causes an earthquake. An earthquake out there would create a tsunami. That’s a huge wall of water, moving like a wave. It can be very destructive if it hits land.

What happens to the west coast of North America if the “Big One” occurs? The state of Oregon has a plan. It’s called the “Cascadia Playbook.” A playbook is a set of rules and plans. Andrew Phelps directs Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management. He says he keeps the playbook with him all the time—even when he goes out to dinner! He is staying ready.

If the earthquake and tsunami happened, bridges, roads, and buildings would collapse. People could be trapped or stranded. Power, water, and utilities would be lost. Much land would flood.

Helicopters could help. They can fly over the damage, searching for people who need rescue. They can lower supplies and paramedics to stranded people below. Response plans include lots of helicopters, plus cargo planes and ships. Emergency service workers and construction specialists are also tops on the list to call in. Military and non-military equipment and personnel all work together in the playbook. They do as much good as possible.

God does not want us to live in fear. Though people can’t plan perfectly, God knows what is ahead. He gives us skills and resources to use. We can take comfort in the knowledge the officials have. And we can take comfort in God’s promise that He is with us always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)