The most serious hazard facing Orting is a Lahar, or mud flow, which would come from Mt. Rainier and follow the Puyallup and Carbon Rivers. It has been approximately 500 years since a large mud flow came through the Orting/Puyallup valley and scientists estimate we may be in a 300-year window for something like this to occur again. This is a rare event, but would have serious consequences. It is important for Orting Valley residents to be prepared. Orting has five large sirens that are only activated by an actual Lahar or Lahar drill. Drill sirens only last a couple of minutes. The school district has two lahar evacuations drills a year when the sirens are tested. You may not be able to hear the sirens well indoors so it is also important to have a radio that carries NOAA broadcasts. The AM station 1580 also carries emergency incident messages. In a worst-case scenario, estimates are that you have about 42 minutes to get to high ground (at least 80 feet above the valley floor). It will be critical for Orting citizens to respond quickly and get off the valley floor. First and foremost:
WHEN THE SIRENS WAIL, DON’T WAIT – EVACUATE
Here are steps you can take to make sure you are prepared.
1) Have a family plan to include:
- Where you will meet if you cannot get home.
- Out-of-area contact person for all family members to call, confirming you are okay and what your plans are.
- Grab-and-go backpacks for family members with food, water, necessary medications, and copies of important family records.
- Include a plan for your pets.
- For more detailed information on family preparedness visit the Red Cross website.
2) Know the fastest evacuation route from where you live and/or work. The Lahar evacuation map can provide more information on evacuation locations.
3) Plan to WALK OUT.
Automobile accidents create huge bottlenecks. You will be able to get out faster if you walk. The best walk-out route is west on Calistoga Avenue to the County Rock Quarry. Another less convenient route is south of town up the Buttes or Card Roads.
4) Do not go to the school for your children—they will already be on their way up the hill.
The schools have an evacuation plan. Check with the Orting School District for detailed information on where you can expect to reunite with your children.
5) Keep Moving – Whether walking or driving, don’t stop – keep moving.
People behind you need to get up the hill, too. Police will not respond to automobile accidents.
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2) Pierce College, 1601 39th Av SE, Puyallup
3) Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 12407 Old Military Rd E, Puyallup
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1) Frontier Jr. High School at 22110 108th Avenue East, Graham