Bldg exterior damage

Earthquakes: “The Big One” is coming

Experts in emergency management tell us that a major earthquake in the Pacific Northwest is a matter of when, not if.

If you are a native of the Pacific Northwest, or have lived here for long, you know that “the big one” is our code name for an earthquake that will cause major destruction to our homes and significant interruption to our way of life. And we have good reason to believe the experts who tell us it’s a matter of when, not if.

But earthquakes are not the only disasters that threaten us. The City of Seattle Emergency Management team identifies 18 different disasters* they consider likely enough in our area to warrant our attention. 18! And not all of them are “natural” disasters.

They include: active shooter incidents, disease/pandemic (such as influenza), excessive heat, fires, floods, hazardous materials incidents, infrastructure failures, landslides, power outages, social unrest, snow/ice/extreme cold, terrorism, transportation incidents, tsunamis, volcanoes, and windstorms.

That list gives us all a lot of reasons to put some serious time and effort into getting prepared…  but it’s so easy to procrastinate. And the more we hear that others also procrastinate, the easier it becomes to justify our own inaction. Unfortunately, no excuse is going to hold up in the aftermath of a true disaster.

As the founder of Just in Case, I believe in John Burrough’scontention that, “The smallest deed, is better than the greatest intention.”

It may be that “the smallest deed”, aka “the first step” is to ask for help! Since we are all in the same boat (i.e. natural disasters are equal opportunity events — they affect the poor, the rich, and the in-between equally), anyone you ask will gain as much as they give. So ask your friends, your family, your neighbors, your local government officials, or Just in Case, to help you start preparing for the inevitable emergency. You will never regret it.

To see what conditions most endanger your particular home, check out the Seattle Hazard Explorer map.

*See page 25 of the SHIVA Report.

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