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Alaska earthquake raises warning to prepare for “The Big One”


Two earthquakes struck the Pacific Ocean, resulting in a tsunami warning

7.8 degrees Alaska hit Tuesday and western British Columbia, Canada. Washington residents prepare for when one might hit the state.

SEATTLE – When an earthquake measuring 7.8 struck off the coast of Alaska early Wednesday morning, residents shook right outside the bed and ran to high ground after raising a tsunami warning.

While the warning was later canceled, experts say the news of the earthquake should send a reminder to everyone in the Pacific Northwest that a “major earthquake” is coming.

“It is not a matter of if, but when,” warned Sofia Lopez, director of the emergency management program for public education and communication in King County.

“When you hear and think about an earthquake, do at least one thing to better prepare your home and family for the earthquake we will be seeing,” said Bill Steel of the Northwest Pacific Seismic Network.

Bellevue resident Paul Thompson is more prepared than most of them. At home, he has at least two weeks of meals and non-perishable water, a generator, and car batteries with inverters to deliver most of the energy needs, first aid kits and more. His jeep is also equipped with similar needs for emergencies.

Thompson said his interest in preparedness began two decades ago when he became a mountain climber and he needed to prepare for the worst out in nature.

Then he started wondering how he could apply the same “preparedness” mentality at home. But his stock did not happen overnight.

“Over time, things gradually improved until I think today I am really ready,” said Thompson. “I hope it’s 20 years from now before something serious happens, but it could be this afternoon, you just don’t know.”

Experts know that there are some barriers to getting the same level of alert as Thomsen. That’s why they say even getting a little extra at the grocery store or using Wednesday’s earthquakes as a reminder of an emergency plan will help you get better prepared than you were yesterday.

Lopez said getting food and water or filtering water on hand is the first step. The message is to start small and you will be better prepared when disaster strikes.

She said, “Two weeks is what we say, but frankly, I get what you can do.”

Steele and Lopez both said that living through COVID-19 also forces people to think more about contingency planning.

“I hope it makes us better because we are beginning to understand what it means to be sheltered in the place,” Steele said.

Although the 9.0-magnitude earthquake would be much worse, hindering access to shops, roads and public amenities, the difficulties she encountered at the beginning of staying home sparked new conversations, especially when people passed supplies needed from store shelves and left Them naked for days.

“I know some people want to ignore it,” Lopez said. “Earthquakes don’t happen all the time.” You’re right, they don’t happen all the time. But it does happen and when the “big thing” happens it will be bad, so let’s be ready. “

Aside from starting to accumulate food and water stocks, the emergency kit and always keeping two weeks of drug storage, Lopez said an important part of preparedness is to think about who depends on you, whether it’s family members, pets, or a neighbor. When disasters strike, an effective contingency plan will develop how to ensure that those loved ones can get care if you cannot reach them.

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