Many of us were awakened July 12 by the 4.6 Magnitude earthquake centered in Monroe, followed by a dozen smaller aftershocks. While nobody was injured, it was a reminder that we live in a region susceptible to earthquakes and other natural disasters.
That’s why it’s a good idea to get yourself and your family prepared for any eventuality, to ensure you have the basic necessities of food, water, supplies, and communications in the uncertain days and weeks following an earthquake.
Here’s some ways you can be ready:
- Know the hazards in your area – The first step in getting prepared is knowing more about the hazards. The Snohomish County Hazard Viewer allows users to look up any address in Snohomish County and explore interactive maps detailing natural hazards known to exist there, including underlying earthquake faults, flood zones, a history of landslides or the potential for wildfire.
- Make an emergency supply kit – “We’re telling people to have two weeks of food and water packed, and in rural areas more than that,” says Michelle Boll, Program Coordinator with Snohomish County’s Department of Emergency Management (DEM).
- Build your communications plan – How will you communicate with one another if cell phones and the Internet are down? If all forms of communication have failed, determining a location where you will reunify is critical to ensuring everyone is safe and accounted for.
- Practice your earthquake drill – Make plans to participate in the Great ShakeOut, the world’s largest earthquake drill, on Oct. 17. You can register yourself, your work, school, club, church, etc.
- Earthquake-proof your home – Look around your home and think about which heavy items – those that might fall – should be secured. Remove wall hangings over beds so they won’t injure you in your sleep.
There’s other ways to get yourself and those around you prepared, notes Boll. One is to rally your neighbors, whether you’re in a condo building, townhome complex or a single-family home.
“You and your neighbors can become trained in the free Map Your Neighborhood Program, to learn how to help one another immediately following a disaster,” she says. You can also call Boll at 425-388-5064 or email her at Michelle.Boll@snoco.org for more information and program supplies.