If you're nervous about a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, you can soon find the answers you'll need to survive it.

The American Red Cross is holding a free presentation from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26, at the Smullin Center at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, 2825 E. Barnett Road, Medford, to discuss how humans behave in disasters and what to expect if the Cascadia quake strikes.

"Why are we worried about earthquakes?" said Eric Dittmer, professor emeritus for Southern Oregon University's Geology Department. "No I-5, no Highway 101, landslides, utilities out, and we're talking for weeks or months." 

Dittmer said the effects on this valley will be devastating, and those who don't make some kind of preparation could find themselves in a dire situation.

At the Red Cross presentation, local residents will find out how much food, water and supplies will be needed to withstand going days, weeks and possibly months of being cut off from the outside world.

The Red Cross suggests sending an RSVP to http://rdcrss.org/2lliwRh. Dittmer said local residents could just show up, though they might be turned away if the 400-seat capacity of the Smullin Center is reached.

The presentation for the public coincides with a two-day seminar in Medford among stakeholders who are preparing for the Cascadia, which last occurred 300 years ago.

Dittmer said things we take for granted may not work after the quake hits, such as toilets. For Christmas, Dittmer said he gave his family members a 5-gallon bucket with a toilet seat attached to take care of business.

Residents should also assess their homes or offices to determine the best place to take cover and the best exit once the shaking stops. Also, stay away from heavy things such as refrigerators that may topple over during the quake.

Dittmer lives in west Medford, while his son lives in east Medford. He said his family has discussed a spot to meet after the quake because Interstate 5 and many local bridges over Bear Creek may have collapsed.

While emergency planners recommend having a considerable amount of provisions on hand, many of the items can be obtained at the Dollar Store for low-income families, Dittmer said.

Adding a few extra cans of food every time you go grocery shopping will soon add up, he said.

"If you want to see what happens in a disaster, look at Puerto Rico, Houston or Florida," Dittmer said. Also, Mexico was rocked by another earthquake this week that caused widespread damage.

The Cascadia quake could have an even bigger wallop than the two quakes that hit Mexico this month.

— Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow him on www.twitter.com/reporterdm.