On Shaky Ground: Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest (2011)

About the Program

2010's devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile are vivid reminders the Pacific Northwest is earthquake country too. In this special report, KCTS 9 shows the types of powerful earthquakes that pose the greatest risk to our region, how local leaders are preparing for the next big quake, and what you should be doing to protect your home and your family.

Tips: Preparing for an Earthquake

Earthquake Disaster Kit

“Be Prepared.”

That’s the Boy Scout motto, and when it comes to earthquakes, we should all take a lesson from them.

Depending on the size and location of an earthquake, emergency responders may need anywhere from hours to days to reach everyone affected. Utilities like electricity, phone lines, gas, and water may be cut off for even longer. Having a home disaster kit could be invaluable. Ready-made kits are available for purchase from organizations like the Red Cross, or you can put one together at home.

So what do you need? Here are the basics:

  • Water: One gallon, per-person, per-day. Store it in plastic containers and make sure to replace the water every six months.
  • Food: At least a three-day supply of non-perishable items. Pack some emergency food bars or ready-to-eat canned foods and juices (and don’t forget a can-opener). Add a little chocolate, to help keep your spirits up.
  • A flashlight and battery-operated radio, complete with extra batteries. You’ll want to stay in the loop and out of the dark until power comes back on.
  • A well-stocked first aid kit for bumps and bruises.
  • A whistle to blow for help, just in case.
  • A change of clothes and shoes for each person, plus personal hygiene items and essential medications.
  • An emergency blanket.
  • Hand sanitizer and moist towelettes, because we don’t need to be worrying about germs too.

Just having these items on hand can help you and your family get by after an earthquake, and dramatically cut the worry involved. A few other items to consider are:

  • Rain gear—an excellent idea for our Northwest weather.
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape.
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change for pay-phones.
  • Local maps to find shelters or evacuation routes.
  • Utility knife, pliers, and a wrench.
  • Lighter or matches in a waterproof container.
  • Copies of important documents like insurance cards, social security cards, and immunization records in a waterproof container.
  • Deck or cards, books or some other type of entertainment to keep you occupied.

Along with your home disaster kit, having a plan the whole family knows for when an earthquake or any other kind of crisis comes, is an excellent way to keep everyone ready in case of an emergency.

Catherine McGourty, KCTS 9

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