earthquake preparedness

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

More people than ever—1.2 million in Washington state and more than 570,000 in Oregon—are registered to participate in the annual Great ShakeOut earthquake and tsunami drill Thursday morning.


Not coincidentally, a Washington state agency is using this week to highlight how the Evergreen State needs to play catch up with neighboring states on earthquake preparedness.

Liz Roll / FEMA News

Last week’s earthquake in Mexico provided another reminder about the risks of poorly reinforced buildings. According to government studies, there are literally thousands of older brick and concrete buildings in Oregon and Washington that could collapse in a strong earthquake.

Washington State House Republicans / Flickr - tinyurl.com/zlgo6qs

The threat of a nuclear attack, immigration enforcement and paying by the mile to drive are all on the agenda as Washington lawmakers hold meetings the week of September 11.

Andrea Booher / FEMA News Photo

Fewer than one in five homeowners in the West carry earthquake insurance, according to an insurance industry survey. That would set back our region's recovery if the Big One were to hit tomorrow.

Now both Oregon and Washington state are looking to California for a possible solution to get their numbers up.

Masahiko OHKUBO / Flickr - tinyurl.com/l6vwtfp

Vulnerability assessments by utilities and emergency planners along the U.S. West Coast suggest it could be weeks or a month or more before water service gets restored after a major earthquake - not to mention electricity, sewage treatment and fuel supply too. The social and economic disruption does not have to be that bad though, given adequate preparedness and investments in critical infrastructure as demonstrated in Japan.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Oregon lawmakers are expected to reveal details Monday of a proposed transportation funding package. The initial roll-out will almost certainly be a first draft. The final version, if approved, will reflect a dizzying mix of competing priorities for precious transportation dollars.

FEMA

Public schools in Washington state would be encouraged—but not required—to hold at least one earthquake drill per year under a measure scheduled for Gov. Jay Inslee's signature Thursday.

The state of Oregon has announced a new round of taxpayer-funded grants to help schools and other public buildings better withstand a major earthquake.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Big earthquakes happen infrequently enough in the Northwest that people can be lulled into complacency. That’s not the case in Japan.

Most large Japanese cities have at least one disaster training center, where people can learn in realistic simulators what to do in an earthquake, typhoon or fire. Leaders from the Pacific Northwest who have seen these centers say it’s a concept worth copying.

Mustafa Lazkani / FEMA

The report cards are in and it's not pretty if you worry about how you'll fare after a magnitude 9 Cascadia megaquake and tsunami. Washington and Oregon's emergency management divisions have now published after-action reviews of last June's multi-state disaster drill called Cascadia Rising .

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