October 8, 2012
by Bill Steele
The Great ShakeOut: Be A Part of History
By Tom Jenkins (Junior, Environmental Studies)
Student Assistant, University of Washington Emergency Management
On October 18th, the University of Washington will join with several other institutes of higher learning, businesses and communities in participation of The Great ShakeOut. This annual, nation-wide event highlights the dangers of earthquakes and ways that individuals & organizations can take action before an earthquake happens to reduce the impact it will have on them. The time & date of the American component of the drill is easy to remember: 10:18am on 10/18! This year’s activity promises to the biggest yet, with multiple departments conducting internal “Duck, Cover, and Hold On” drills; additionally, the UW Emergency Management office has been staffing public outreach booths across campus to educate campus residents & faculty about earthquakes and they have also offered training seminars (open to all UW-affiliated members to attend) that provide an in-depth forum to ask questions and see how earthquake response will affect individual communities specifically. To find our booth or attend a seminar, follow the link to our page and check the schedule for an event near you: http://www.washington.edu/emergency/shakeout
Whether you are a long-time resident of the Puget Sound region or a relatively new arrival, the need for citizens to be aware of the risk of earthquakes is imperative. The disasters that struck Haiti, northern Japan and Chile in recent years have captured headlines in the news and the attention of people world-wide. Quake veterans in the Seattle area can provide detailed memories of our last major seismic event, the 6.8 Nisqually earthquake, that occurred just east of Olympia back in 2001. Staff & Faculty members may also have participated in the University of Washington’s annual functional drill, known as “Evergreen Quake,” when UW exercised simultaneously with the City of Seattle, King County and most of the other government agencies located throughout Puget Sound in early June 2012. This functional exercise simulated the 5 minor fault lines throughout western Washington erupting in a cascading pattern of emergencies. University administrators received an informative demonstration of how all of our emergency responders work together to protect the UW community, as well as areas that present “challenge opportunities” for improvement before the next earthquake happens. UW has the tremendous benefit of state-of-the-art technology and research staff who are learning more about what happens during earthquakes, skilled engineering staff who instruct the builders of tomorrow and keep the UW campus running smoothly, and management staff who do their best to plan against the innumerable “What if’s” before disaster strikes.
It is all our responsibility to be ready for future large earthquakes and our comfort, safety and speed of recovery all depend on how prepared we are. Please have a quick look at these preparedness ideas and accomplish one or more to help get you ready to ride out the next big one. ShakeOut, Don’t Freak Out! It’s a matter of WHEN, not IF, the next quake arrives.
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