On Wednesday, May 11, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., approximately 200 people including many Canyon County health agencies participated in a mock disaster response to a Cascadian Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake, an anticipated large-scale quake that could take place in the Pacific Northwest and could drive many injured people westward.
"We want people to have comfort in knowing we practice these things. We plan and we prepare," Central Health District Spokeswoman Christine Myron said.
Idaho might find itself fielding these injured people because critical local infrastructure - buildings, electricity, water - might become disrupted during and after a large earthquake. Idaho would be called upon to field evacuees and offer other kinds of support.
"This kind of place would do wonders for refugees and victims of earthquakes," disaster actor, Colton Poindexter explained.
A medical shelter was built at the O'Connor Field House in Caldwell. Volunteers from the Job Corps and Meridian Medical Arts Charter High School acted as the injured, and medical personnel including the American Red Cross and Medical Reserve Corp Volunteers facilitated intake, triage, and treatment operations.
The hypothetical emergency scenario is designed to hone various organizations' responses in a variety of areas, including coordination and cooperation not just for a future event, but lessons learned will be carried into day-to-day operations as well.
A volunteer said the exercise coincides with the broader-scale, state-wide Cascadia Rising exercises in June, which will test state-level capabilities of responding to the anticipated Cascadian Subduction Zone earthquake.
That earthquake has been given by some sources odds of 1-in-3 chances of happening in the next 50 years.