With all eyes on the big storm pummeling the east coast today, you might not have realized that disaster planning has been a hot topic here in the Seattle-Tacoma area this month.
It should provide some peace of mind for Puget Sound residents when they realize that local national, state, county and city departments practice for any number of different types of natural disasters and not-so-natural disasters (like terrorist or criminal attacks) every year.
Earlier this month, one such drill was held to practice for earthquakes; in fact, it was the biggest earthquake drill in U.S. history. Ironically, just a few days later, the Pacific northwest had a real tsunami warning as a 7.7 quake occurred off the coast of British Columbia.
While neither the 7.7 Canadian quake, nor (obviously) the earthquake drill resulted in significant damage or disruptions, we still thought it would be a good idea to share some earthquake tips and local resources that would be helpful for Soundbuilt Homes home owners and others in the Seattle – Tacoma area.
Earthquakes, Storms and Tsunamis – Oh MY! Infographic, resources for emergency and earthquake prep for Puget Sound area home owners
Download a free copy of The Great Washington “Shake Out” pdf emergency and disaster planning brochure by Washington Design Professionals, The AIA Washington council (American Institute of Architects) and the Structural Engineers Association of Washington. Visit http://www.shakeout.org/washington/ for more resources and information about how to participate in this year’s drills or get valuable information for Washington home owners on earthquake preparation here..
The infographic below recommends important ways to prepare for an earthquake emergency (which can be applied to other types of emergencies and natural disasters as well).
1. Secure your space
- Strap down computers, televisions and other expensive or hazardous electrical components
- Prevent rolling or tipping of refrigerators and other tall appliances, brace water heaters
- Make sure gas appliances have flexible connections
- Secure ceiling fans and hanging light fixtures
- Securely fasten heavy pictures and mirrors over beds (or relocate)
- Strap bookcases, tall appliances and shelves to walls to prevent tipping, secure wall cabinets to studs and use latches to keep cabinet doors from flying open during an earthquake
- Strengthen garages that have living spaces above, upgrade unbraced crawlspace walls and correct any foundation problems, brace or replace masonry chimneys
2. Make a preparedness plan
- Know how – and when – to shut off utilities
- Make a family communications plan
- Download FEMA’s Family Emergency Plan PDF worksheet
3. Build a safety kit
- FEMA recommends the following basic disaster supplies kit
- You can also purchase disaster preparedness kits and supplies for your office, car and home online and at local office supply and hardware stores.
RELATED Earthquake and Emergency Preparedness Resources:
Disaster Planning for Businesses
Seattle Office of Emergency Management which includes local resources as well as a timeline showing major earthquakes in the Seattle area
Tacoma Emergency Management – Personal and Family Preparedness which provides a “Prepare in a Year” grid where you can invest just one hour each month and build a complete disaster preparedness plan for your household