Raise your hand if you like scary movies! Many people do. (I don’t.) So if you raised your hand, guess what, you are living in one! We are supposed to at some time uncertain get a major earthquake, and based on all I have heard after attending monthly emergency management meetings held by county and city over the past year (missed a few, admittedly), we are on our own.
It will take weeks if not months to get federal/state help. Bridges down, roads messed up, no electricity or phones. Food/medical shortages. Mayhem. Major cities will get help first, so for us, individual preparedness is stressed, over and over and over. Three days of food and water in your car or house, and several weeks more stored, if you can do this. Back up batteries, solar chargers, whatever you can muster.
You want to do this. We are being told that some 90% of the public is not stockpiling food, water, clothing or medicines, in case we have “the Big One”, that Cascadia Fault 9.0 earthquake. See again also that New Yorker story from 2015 on the impact of such a quake to understand why help will be slow, for us outliers, newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/the-really-big-one
So we remote areas need to be prepared, not just with supplies but with knowledge of how to help each other in an organized way. FEMA gets a bad rap but one thing they did right is creating a corps of trained civilians to help out in emergencies, called CERT, Community Emergency Response Team. Classes start again Thursdays, Oct. 11-Dec. 6 in Forks, at The Family First Center, 945 Forks Ave., across from Forks Outfitters, 5:30-8:30 p.m. I am a graduate of the classes taught this past spring. It’s your turn now!
Unlike the famous San Andreas fault in California, this quake is sort of predictable—has what geologists call “periodicity”—based on local geology and Japanese tsunami records from 1/26/1700. Websites on the Cascadia fault show every 246 years is the average for repeat events and it is coming due . (See, e.g., projects.oregonlive.com/maps/earthquakes/timeline re us, and earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/topics/safz-paleo/ re California and quakes in general.)
Sound Publishing came out with a preparedness guide as an insert, the Forks Forum has copies on hand. YOU SHOULD DOWNLOAD THIS AND READ IT, for lots of great advice. ccfd3.org/uploads/Community%20Outreach/CERT%20Program/Peninsula%20Emergency%20Preparedness%20Guide%202018.pdf. There are so many references for what to store. clallam.net/EmergencyManagement/ has links for downloading checklists. Use it!
If you don’t have computer access, next time you go to Port Angeles, stop by and get some of their handouts. This is run by the Sheriff’s Office at the Courthouse on Lincoln and Fourth. The County would also like to inform you that you can be alerted about emergencies directly, by enrolling in “Code Red,” the link being on the same Emergency Management webpage (a yellow box, asking you to “Sign Up or Log In”). That enrollment lets you create a notice account via Google, Facebook, or Twitter, or independently create an account via the page— public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/BF58FE05AC5E, to which you can log in, directly with this url.
The flow charts for command are still being fine-tuned. Meanwhile—tentative advice (subject to change as buildings must first be deemed safe after an event): If you are hurt, head to the hospital. If you don’t have shelter, know that QVSD is working on becoming an authorized shelter (but this is not the case, yet). if you are OK and can help, the transit center might be a meeting area for directives. More details will be made public in the near future. Watch for signage in public places or newspaper articles on this. We are a work in progress. We are largely volunteers. This advice may change. (But you can do your job, to store necessities for yourself and loved ones.)
Whatever you do, don’t be complacent. This is going to happen. Can we say exactly when? No, but the periodicity of the Cascadia Fault is real. And the county and city do not have the resources to feed and clothe all of us for months or even weeks. Stock up. Be prepared. Get tetanus and flu shots now, when you can! Be well.
Katie Krueger, Forks, CERT “Trainee”