We had a staff meeting to day and our educational topic was earthquake preparedness. Joanne Jordan from Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management gave an excellent presentation that made me feel a little better about living in Washington, the third most earthquake prone state. California and Alaska are the top two. Here are a few things I learned.
Most earthquake injuries are not from people getting squished by a bus flying through the air but rather are related to people running around during the quake and tripping and falling and then walking around in debris in bare feet! Not the stuff of disaster movies, huh? Soooo….. when the big one hits, take a few steps if necessary to get into a safe place and stay put. And keep a pair of sturdy shoes (with a flashlight tucked in) under your bed.
Modern high rises like the Madison Tower where I work are really, really some of the safest places to be in an earthquake. These buildings are made to sway with the energy of an earthquake. You may be in for a wild ride but the building is not going to go down. Soooo… hope that the big one hits while you are at work.
Elevator shafts are super safe structures. So…….if you are stuck in one, stay put and make friends with your co-riders. Bad things happen to people when they try to get out of the elevator without a rescuer who knows the proper way to evacuate.
This in-service really brought back memories of the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake. I was working on the 16th floor of an older medical office building. I could see undulations of the city from my window. I saw it before I felt it and then did I feel it. Later that week, I put together an emergency kit for our family. Yeah, that was 13 years ago. This weekend my project will be to update that rather, er, outdated kit.
For great information about being ready for and earthquake or some other disaster, go to www.seattle.gov/emergency. It is a treasure trove of information.
Thanks for reading and stay safe! Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder