The publication last July of the New Yorker article The Really Big One: An earthquake will destroy a sizable portion of the coastal Northwest. The question is when - along, I suspect, with the recent release of the movie San Andreas - has helped raise earthquake awareness a notch or two over the summer.
While it’s been more than 20 years since the last major destructive quake in the United States (Northridge 1994), the geological clock keeps on ticking down towards the next big seismic event. Another big quake is inevitable.
And a recent USGS study published in the journal Earthquake Spectra, nearly doubles – to 143 million - the number of Americans who live or work in areas susceptible to potentially damaging ground shaking (see USGS: Nearly Half Of U.S. Population Exposed to Potentially Damaging Earthquakes).
Starting eight years ago with a fairly modest Great Southern California Shakeout Drill, ShakeOut.org has promoted earthquake awareness, preparedness, and safety in scores of regions across the country and around the world, and will do so again on October 15th’s Great Shakeout Earthquake Drill.
This year more than 40 million people are expected to take part globally, and you are invited as well. You should consider taking part, even if you don’t live in a high-risk seismic region. The reason? You might just find yourself visiting an earthquake susceptible area someday, and need to know what to do during a quake.
Last month, as part of National Preparedness Month in #NatlPrep: Half Of All Americans Need An Earthquake Plan, we looked at some of the most seismically active regions of the country, and what you can do to prepare for an earthquake.
At a bare minimum, everyone should have a well thought out disaster and family communications plan, along with a good first aid kit, a `bug-out bag’, and sufficient emergency supplies to last at least 72 hours.
But in a major disaster, you may very well wish you’d done more.
In When 72 Hours Isn’t Enough, I highlighted a colorful, easy-to-follow, 100 page `survival guide’ released by Los Angeles County, that covers everything from earthquake and tsunami preparedness, to getting ready for a pandemic.
The guide may be downloaded here (6.5 Mbyte PDF).
While designed specifically for the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County, this guide would be a valuable asset for anyone interested in preparing for a variety of hazards. And in Los Angeles, the advice is to have emergency supplies (food, water, etc) to last up to 10 days. In my humble opinion, 2-weeks in an earthquake zone isn’t overkill.
As you work to better prepare your home, business, and family to deal with an earthquake (or any other major disaster), I would If I would strongly encourage you to visit ShakeOut.org and to take part in next week’s drill.
For more on earthquakes, and earthquake preparedness, you may wish to revisit: