As the 10th anniversary of the Nisqually Earthquake and recent quakes such as the one in New Zealand fade from the forefront of public attention, county officials urge residents to act now to prepare for the next big quake. "History suggests a high probability of a significant earthquake occurring in the Puget Sound region within the next 25 years," says Thurston County Emergency Manager Kathy Estes. "In a major quake, many people will be unable to receive outside help for days. That's why it's critical for residents to prepare now for an event that will come without warning."
Recommended actions to mitigate earthquake damage include:
- Securely fastening water heaters and gas appliances.
- Fastening shelves to wall and placing large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
- Storing bottles, glassware, china and other breakables on lower shelves or in cabinets that can fasten shut.
- Knowing where and how to shut off utilities.
Households should make an Emergency Supply Kit that includes:
- One gallon of water per person per day, for three days
- A three-day supply, at the least, of non-perishable food and a manual can opener
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Prescription medications
- Pet food, extra water, leash and collar
Make a Family Emergency Plan that includes a designated meeting place, an out-of-town contact and evacuation plans from the home. A free, downloadable template is available at www.ready.gov or in Spanish at www.listo.gov.
Information about likely disasters in Thurston County, as well as more preparedness details, is available at the county's Emergency Management website, www.co.thurston.wa.us/em. Preparedness information is also posted at www.facebook.com/ThurstonEM