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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, July 27, 2015
Sandy Johnson, Emergency Management Division Manager at JohnsonS@co.thurston.wa.us or (360) 867-2824

The "Really Big One" Is Coming—Be Prepared, Not Scared
County's emergency management experts say preparedness is key to riding out a mega-quake

"Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast," said Kenneth Murphy, who directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Region X office, which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.

Murphy's stark and startling comment was made in a recent New Yorker magazine article (www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/the-really-big-one) outlining the devastation that could come from a mega-quake of magnitude 9.0 that is overdue in the Pacific Northwest. And when it comes, it could be the worst natural disaster in the history of North America.

"If that New Yorker article has you scared, we want you to take a deep breath and channel that energy into getting your home and your family prepared for emergencies. Don't be scared of earthquakes and tsunamis—be informed and prepared," said Sandy Johnson, Manager of the Thurston County Emergency Management Division. "Preparedness will be the key to surviving the next big earthquake in our area."

The Thurston County Emergency Management website has a ton of tips, tools and information on how to prepare your home and family for emergencies and help you survive "The Really Big One." Learn how to make your own 72-hour disaster kit, join a citizen volunteer response group, download a tip sheet on earthquake preparedness, or contact emergency management staff to schedule a "3 Days, 3 Ways" training session—all this and more is available on the Thurston County Emergency Management website at www.co.thurston.wa.us/em.

The county's team of emergency management experts is also doing their part to prepare the region and its residents for emergencies and disasters like earthquakes. The county has its Hazard Mitigation Plan, which outlines initiatives to reduce or eliminate hazards. The county is required to have its Hazard Mitigation Plan in order to qualify for certain competitive grant funding opportunities.

The county is also updating its Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, which guides the coordination of Thurston County government and other partner agencies for disaster response and recovery. The county will hold a public hearing on the updated Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan on Tuesday, August 4 at
3 p.m. at the county courthouse. Go to www.co.thurston.wa.us/em for information about the August 4 public hearing.

The county's emergency management staff members also participate in statewide and regional emergency drills and exercises, such as the Cascadia Rising regional exercise planned for June 2016. Cascadia Rising will test plans for response to a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami. Local jurisdictions and state agencies from across Washington, Oregon and Idaho will be participating in the Cascadia Rising exercise alongside staff and experts from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal government agencies.

This fall, Thurston County Emergency Management will host the annual Emergency Preparedness Expo. As you prep the kids to go back to school, you can prep your home and family to be ready for earthquakes, storm season, or any emergency. Join us at the 2015 Emergency Preparedness Expo on Saturday, September 26 at Yelm High School from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If you are interested in learning more about personal preparedness, or you would like to schedule a presentation, please contact Vivian Eason, Thurston County Emergency Management at EasonV@co.thurston.wa.us or at (360) 867-2825.


County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3