SPOKANE, Wash.-- First responders across the region shared their excitement over the two low-magnitude earthquakes that shook up western Washington on Friday morning.
Many said the earthquakes were a great reminder to be prepared if and when a larger earthquake happens.
This morning many were woken by the shaking of a 4.6 earthquake near Monroe. Good news is there was no damage to any of our bridges or infrastructure. However, this was a good reminder that we need to be prepared if and when a larger earthquake happens. https://t.co/EpT9i3gDIw pic.twitter.com/UeF9DkwoTZ— Washington State DOT (@wsdot) July 12, 2019
Disasters can happen quickly, often and at any moment. Spokane is home to many threats, such as wildfires, wind storms, flash floods and earthquakes.
Are you prepared if any of these disasters happen?
If not, now is the time to make a plan and put together a disaster kit.
According to Gerry Bozarth, spokesperson for Spokane County emergency management, emergency preparedness is more then being physically prepared, it's about being mentally prepared.
"People who are prepared have less anxiety over disasters because they have less fear when the emergency starts," Bozarth said. "That's the most important part of being prepared, not panicking."
In order to feel prepared, be informed and be ready to go.
Can Spokane experience an earthquake?
According to magnetic readings, the fault under Spokane likely extends from Spokane International Airport, through Hillyard and toward Beacon Hill.
Although the fault line is relatively short, a large earthquake could cause major damage in Spokane.
Will our buildings withstand an earthquake?
It's important to know what to do during an earthquake, but that depends on where you are.
In Spokane County, more than 900 buildings could pose a safety risk during an earthquake.
An interactive database allows you to search by city, legislative district, ownership and even building use.
These buildings many not be reinforced and are likely to sustain damage. Standard homeowner's policies won't cover earthquake damage.
Earthquake insurance is an added endorsement to your insurance plan.
What to do during an earthquake?
Drop, Cover & Hold on
Indoors: In the case of an earthquake, drop down low to the floor and use a desk or table to cover your head and neck. Hold on to something sturdy until the shaking stops. If you don't have anything to cover yourself with, crawl next to an interior wall. But avoid and area where pictures or mirrors are hung up. If you are in bed, stay there. Lie face down and cover you head with a pillow. Stay inside until the earthquake stops. If you are in a high-rise building, use the stairs to exit. Being outside near exterior walls is one of the most dangerous places to be, in case debris falls off the building.
In a Classroom: Drop, Cover and Hold on under a desk. If you are in a laboratory, cover and protect your face in case equipment breaks.
Outdoors: Move to a clear area away from buildings, power lines, trees and other tall hazards. Then lie low to the ground, covering your head and neck. Hold on until the earthquake stops. If you are near a shoreline, walk to higher ground the moment the earthquake stops and you can.
Driving: Pull over and set the parking brake. Avoid stopping near overpasses, bridges and power lines. Stay inside your car until the earthquake stops.
In a Wheelchair or Walker: Lock your wheels and cover your head and neck. Hold on until the shaking stops.
When should I evacuate?
In the event of an emergency, you may have to evacuate. There are four evacuation levels:
Shelter In Place: Stay indoors and close all the windows and doors. Monitor social media, TV, radio and alerts from emergency response apps for more information.
Level 1: Ready - Conditions outside are severe. You should begin to prepare for the possibility of evacuating.
Level 2: Set - Be prepared to leave at a moments notice. Conditions outside are dangerous. If you, or anyone in your home have special needs or circumstances, you should leave right now in case things worsen.
Level 3: Go! - Leave immediately. Conditions have worsened to present an immediate threat to your life and safety. Emergency services may not be able to assist you.
What do I include in an emergency kit?
Whether a wildfire, earthquake, or windstorm, an emergency "Go" bag contains the tools needed for any disaster.
Emergency kits should include:
- Food & Water for two weeks
- Battery powered flashlight
- Emergency radio
- First Aid Kit
- Any prescription medications
- Extra batteries
- Dust mask
- Generic tools
- Can opener
- Local maps
- Cellphone charger
- Extra cash
The most important thing to have is enough food and water for two weeks for yourself, your family and your pets.
Spokane County Emergency Management also recommends having an emergency radio.
"If the power goes out, or the phone dies, the only way to get help or information is by an emergency radio," Bozarth said.
Keep your emergency kit in an area that is easily accessible, even having two bags, one in your vehicle and one at home, is recommended.
How do I stay informed?
Regardless of where you are, a disaster can happen at any moment.
Installing apps that notify you of an emergency can help you stay informed.
Make sure everyone in your household knows escape routes, where the emergency kit is located, and a family meeting place in your neighborhood.