Emergency Volunteer Corps of Nehalem Bay conducts annual meeting

In an almost packed house at Pine Grove community center in Manzanita the Emergency Volunteer Corps of Nehalem Bay (EVCNB) had its annual meeting to discuss a variety of topics as well as present citizen appreciation awards to dedicated volunteer members.

The most up to date tsunami inundation map was shown at the annual EVCNB meeting in order to discuss potential plans of action in the event of a catastrophic emergency. Pictured above is Manzanita, Nehalem and Wheeler areas. – Courtesy Photo/Oregon Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries

By Brian Cameron

The annual meeting started out with recognition awards for volunteers and group members who help the EVCNB with a variety of organization and administrative tasks, but the real meat of the meeting featured their keynote speaker for the annual gathering, Dr. Jonathan Allen of the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.
Speaking on the subject of tsunamis and preparedness related to a massive earthquakes and the subsequent tsunami afterward Allen went through a number of topics in relation to advanced mapping, community preparedness, education and what to expect in the event of an extreme event.
“It’s survivable provided we are all prepared the way we should be,” Allen said. “Also provided we know exactly what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency.”
The maps that Allen were presenting to the crowd at the meeting were the most up-to-date as far as collected data in regards to expected tsunami inundation zones, only recently had they done the reworked studies of Cannon Beach, Neah-Kah-Nie, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler and Rockaway Beach, and with plans throughout the rest of the year to include all other potentially effected communities throughout Tillamook County.
“We need to define evacuation routes that pertain to the newly available data seen in these maps.” Allen said.
Another part of the EVCNB’s task is to work with communities in regards to signage and wayfinding in the event of a catastrophic tsunami event. Wayfinding usually, in these cases, has two separate definitions: emergency preparedness directions and tourism. After meeting with the Director of Visit Tillamook Coast, Tillamook County’s tourism related department, the concept of joining the two seemed a natural step for north Tillamook County. With part of the new tourism dollars in the County part of it has been allocated to wayfinding signage, it would not be much to put things like tsunami evacuation routes on the same signs to streamline the process for visitors and locals.

EVCNB Director Linda Kozlowski stands next to Margaret Steel, who accepted
the Volunteer of the Year award for her hard work with the organization. – Photo by Dave Dillion

The meeting also featured brief presentations by others involved with
Tillamook County’s Dithe organization including rector of Emergency Management Gordon McGraw who described addressing a room of hundreds at a national emergency management event earlier in the year and how he now had something more to discuss after 2016’s Manzanita Tornado incident.
“It was a point of pride with me to announce to everyone at the event that Manzanita had 128 structures damaged during the tornado, but not one reported injury or fatality,” McGraw said amid applause throughout the packed community center.
Closing activities for the meeting featured raffle-prize giveaways of a complete “Go Bag” from the EVC, which had complimentary items to use in the event of an emergency, in addition there was a WaSH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) water filter bucket system for providing clean filtered water in the event the public utilities are compromised.
To finish up, a number of citizens stood up to tell of their experience doing personal drills for an evacuation plan. Mike and Linda Cook of Neahkahnie told the crowd what it was like to just try and drill and it taught them a lot about how to actually do it.
“The whole process took longer than I thought it would and my go-bag was too heavy,” Kozlowski said. “Really everyone just needs to do a dry-run to see how it goes.”