Press Editorial

April 13, 2010

By Staff

Earthquake drill is meant for all

Since the earthquake in Haiti, it seems like earthquakes are rattling their way around the world. Chile, Mexico, Turkey, Japan, Indonesia and, most recently, Spain and the Solomon Islands have all had big rollers. Closer to home two weeks ago was a 3.8 magnitude quake in Cle Elum, just 65 miles east of here.Earthquake experts say the “big one” will come to the Pacific Northwest — someday. The Seattle fault runs along Interstate 90 — right through Issaquah — before heading north through Sammamish. The “big one” could be disastrous for both cities.

You can fret, wring your hands and worry, or you can do your best to help you and your family survive. Start with knowing what to do when the earth shakes — drop, cover and hold. Step two — practice. Knowing what structures are good to drop under should be planned and discussed. Yes, tables and desks. No, not near windows or objects likely to fall.

No matter where you are at 9:45 a.m. on April 21, practice with family, classmates or co-workers during a 15-minute statewide earthquake drill. A regular monthly test of the Emergency Alert System will initiate the exercise.

Follow up with a home and office assessment, particularly of bookshelves and televisions that can fall over and cause injuries or worse. Know how to shut off your electricity and natural gas, and when you should. Designate an out-of-area contact for family members to check in with. Stock up on batteries and flashlights. Assemble a three-day kit of necessary supplies. Check to see that your fire extinguishers are not past their expiration date.

April has been designated Disaster Preparedness Month. King County will also test the CodeRed and reverse-911 notification systems. CodeRed provides pre-recorded telephone notification messages to participants in case of emergencies. As part of the emergency-preparedness campaign, information will be sent to schools statewide.

Find preparedness information at the state Emergency Management Division’s Web site, www.emd.wa.gov.

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