So, the Pacific Northwest is going to get pummeled by a super-massive earthquake followed by a monstrous tsunami. Worst case scenario, everything West of Interstate 5 will be unrecognizably devastated.
When I last left you following my latest post about the forthcoming destruction of the Pacific Northwest thanks to the Cascadia subduction zone (check out that article here
), I promised to come back and talk about the implications such a disaster could cause. But before we jump into that, let me sum up what we’ve discussed thus far:
[caption id="attachment_18615" align="alignright" width="300"] Japan tsunami, 2011 - Australian Geographic[/caption]
The Cascadia subduction zone is 72 years overdue for a super-massive earthquake, bigger even than what the San Andreas Fault could dish out.
- FEMA asserts that everything west of the I-5 will be destroyed from Northern California up into British Columbia.
- A monstrous tsunami will come about 15-30 minutes after the earth stops rumbling.
Now that you’re caught up, let’s talk implications.
[caption id="attachment_18617" align="alignright" width="300"]
Hurricane Sandy left millions without power[/caption]
As reported in the New Yorker article
, if this quake were to happen, “the I-5 corridor…will take between one and three months after the earthquake to restore electricity, a month to a year to restore drinking water and sewer service,” and the list goes on. Not taking into consideration the amount of time it would take to rebuild the major infrastructure, it will require an estimated 18 months for health care facilities to come back online. During that year and a half, you’ll want to be prepared to take care of yourself and your loved ones, because emergency services are going to be reserved for the worst-case patients.
But that’s just around the I-5. Towards the coast, things will be even worse. With a one to three year wait for drinking water and sewage systems to be back in action, you will definitely want a few alternate sources of water. In this case, water filters
would be a great option, as they are portable and can supply you with clean drinking water even if you have to evacuate your home (which you more than likely will).
But the setbacks don’t stop there. With that much damage, FEMA expects that U.S. taxpayers will have to cover at least 75% of the damage. They wouldn’t be surprised if taxpayers even had to pay 100% of disaster recovery. Because of this and other massive expenses, “the economy of the Pacific Northwest will collapse.” Even if you live in the worst-hit location, having an emergency food storage will help see you through
a season where you may not have any income for quite some time.
I’ll be honest, the New Yorker article
referenced here and in my last post was pretty disheartening. The author went into great detail as to the nature of this disaster, the history of the Cascadia subduction zone, and how the adjacent regions would be effected. It was a well-researched piece of writing, however, and it most certainly stirred the pot. But did it achieve its purpose?
It got people talking. As the good men of G.I. Joe say, “Knowing is half the battle,” and that article provided you with 50% of what you need to win against a devastating earthquake. The other 50%? Implementation.
[caption id="attachment_18619" align="alignright" width="300"]
Cascadia subduction zone - Carleton College[/caption]
In response to the New Yorker article and all the hullabaloo surrounding it, FEMA released a statement in which they didn’t apologize for a single word that was published. Instead, they gave it their proverbial stamp of approval. They also agreed with the masses of commenters in that “the science in the article isn’t new” regarding the Cascadia subduction zone and its threat. This is something we’ve been warned about again and again. Most importantly, however, they are glad the article got your attention. That’s “the first step to get better prepared,” they said, “because you are better informed.”
Don’t let this discussion be just another meal-time conversation that’s forgotten by tomorrow’s breakfast. FEMA admonishes people everywhere to “take it further by making a family emergency plan and starting your emergency supply kit.”
You know what’s coming, now go do something to prepare.
As FEMA suggested, get an emergency kit
. We have plenty to choose from, as well as individual items
to help supplement your already-existing kits. Do you have an alternate energy source
? You should, because it’ll be a long time before you get power back if you’re stuck in the effected region.
Aside from the traditional preparations – including food, water, and power – one commenter queried how many people knew important phone numbers should they lose their phone? It may be hard to memorize all the numbers you need to know, but there are free apps you can download for your devices, such as CS Matrix It
for Android and Contacts to Excel
for iOS. These apps will help import your phone contacts to your computer, and from there you can print out your contacts list so you can always have them with you should you need them.
The Cascadia subduction zone is a real threat, but once again, if you’re prepared you’ll be in a much better position than if you’re caught unawares.
FEMA did not apologize for the forward nature of the New Yorker regarding this looming disaster, nor should they. They want you to know what to expect, so you can be better prepared. In light of that, I would like to reiterate the importance of acting on what you know. You read the article because you were interested. Now that you are aware of what could happen, go and prepare for it.
Even if you don’t live near the Cascadia subduction zone and the area in question, there are plenty of other disasters that could affect you. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Start preparing today!
Are you preparing for “the big one” in your area? Let us know how!