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The really big one - concerns about earthquakes  RSS feed

 
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After reading the advice of a few threads here for places to get cheaper land, I started doing some research on plots available in the williamette valley. Then my partner's mother (of all people) sent her this article:
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/the-really-big-one

Needless to say it has put my search for land in the PNW on hold...

Question for you all here:  Are you including resilience to such events into your design? If so, how?
 
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Big issue to me.  I've been researching moving to the PNW, specifically the Hood Canal area for two years + now.  Lo & behold when I started researching geology & seismology for the area, the town we're interested in sits smack dab on the Seattle Fault!  Go me!  LOL!   Mind you, I'm currently in San Diego and we currently, this very week, are under an Earthquake Advisory due to a swarm of small quakes near the Salton Sea/Brawley area.  Never rec'd an actual official *advisory* before.  Greater likelihood of a major quake following a swarm like that, and near the San Andreas.  So that whole "There's threats EVERYWHERE!" logic is something I live with all the time, yes, it's a pick-your-poison situation.  But there's a huge difference between a subduction zone quake and ensuing tsunami, and what we get down here.......  While we're overdue and expecting a Big One down here for a long while now, it doesn't put the fear of God into me like the thought of the Cascadia subduction zone slip as is expected up in the PNW.  Totally different *type* of quake.  (Lift & drop, vs. the kind of quakes we get down here --side-to-side shakers). Study of it has had me obsessed for months now.  I read everything I can get my hands on about it.  It's survivable, but life-after will be like nothing any of us have ever seen.  You have to be prepared for what that life will be like......

Yet still....I want to move there.  What is wrong with me, right?  I consider it a calculated risk, and you simply have to be a prepper.  If you don't prep (min. 6 months, but I personally would do a years-worth), you're out of your mind and get what you settle for.  People can't say they haven't been warned.  Some just *choose* to bury their heads in the sand. 

I'd strongly suggest you do the research, too.  Start with reading anything by Brian Atwater. 

These books will open your eyes to the projected realities:

https://www.amazon.com/Full-Rip-9-0-Earthquake-Pacific-Northwest/dp/1570619425/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1475508794&sr=8-5&keywords=brian+atwater

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0295985356/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1582436436/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0870710249/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Also set yourself up for Google alerts for the Universities of WA & OR re: "earthquake", "subduction zone", "tsunami" and you'll get all the latest published papers, studies and reports coming out of those universities on latest developments..... (<--they have the best departments researching this!)
 
master steward
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Everywhere has the potential for major disasters.  Forest fires, floods, tornados, storms, earthquakes, human-caused disruption, ad nauseum.  I know that earthquakes scare a lot of people, but living in the PNW, I could never figure out why it would bother them.  I watch the news and see far more devastating things happening elsewhere every day. 

When I worked abroad, the strangest thing was at the start of a new job, we had two days training on how to deal with bomb threats and actual bombs exploding in our workplace.  This wasn't in a war zone, this was in a peaceful, first world, Western European country and they have bomb training like it was something that might actually happened.  It freaked me out big time especially because it was something that actually happened (I saw two examples of it in two years, one was a forgotten bag and one was an actual explosive device left under an important person's car which the police disposed of).  Now I understand better how people feel when they are afraid of earthquakes... not why, but I understand the confusion and the fear that comes with an unknown threat. 

If The Big One comes, chances are I won't survive it.  But then again, the buildings here have to take earthquakes into account, so I might.  If that's the case, then I have my skills that I've been developing the last 25 years.  I can grow my own food and I know what I can wildcraft locally.  I can cook over an open fire and with little effort, can build a stove in a day or two.  Once I have a fire I can boil water to purify it.  I can create a temporary shelter that will get me by until I can build a better one.  I've made my farm the gathering place during a major emergency.  All my friends know to come here and to bring (non-iodized) salt.  They all know that they come to my place with the condition that they will be bossed around and busy.  In return, I can promise them a 'comfortable' time through the crisis (food, shelter, clothing, and their other basic needs met). 

There are a few things to consider living in an earthquake zone. 
The first is that there is nothing you can do about earthquakes.  They have no warning (except for my one chicken, but she's only about 90% accurate these days)
Second, make a plan.  Chances are you and your loved ones will be out and about.  Maybe someone's in the grocery shop, maybe someone's at school.  Here's the plan we have:
  • decide on the meeting places (someone's house, a shop you love best, somewhere near where you regularly go)
  • Decide who will stay put and who will travel (if you have young children, better they stay put).  IF A PERSON LEAVES THE PLACE WHERE THEY WERE IN AN EMERGENCY, LEAVE A NOTE SAYING WHO YOU ARE, WHAT DATE/TIME IT WAS, WHERE YOU ARE GOING AND WHAT ROOT YOU ARE TRYING!  This really helps to connect families in a big emergency like this.  Regester with them when you can and make certain your out of town relatives and friends know about this service.
  • The Red Cross will probably be first on the scene.  They are excellent for reconnecting families - both within a disaster area and with people outside the disaster zone.
  • The bridges will be out - plan your way home that has no bridges, water to cross, overpasses, underpasses, tunnels, &c.  When you're out and about, imagine how you will get home and make a habit of trying different routes home so you can see what the alternatives are.
  • Assume your home will be totaled and unsafe.  Hopefully, it won't, but if it is, having your emergency kit in your basement isn't going to do you any good.
  • Practice your survival skills NOW!  Learn how to cook lentils (fast cooking good source of energy, stores well, perfect for emergencies) and develop recipes that you actually like.  Or be like me and decide that lentils aren't fit to eat, even in an emergency situation, and switch to split peas.  Learn to grow food and wildcraft locally.  Think about where you can get your water from (in winter, water may be frozen - but you can tap a maple tree and drink the nutrient-rich sap).  Basically, practice your permaculture skills now, before you need them. 


  • One more thing to think about - the government tells us to prepare to be 72 hours without aid.  Poppycock!  If an emergency is big enough it's going to take 72 hours to get help to everyone, then it's much worse than that and will take a good while longer to get aid to everyone (especially if you live outside the big cities).  72 hours worth of supplies is a great idea, it will give you enough energy to get yourself set up to fend for yourself. 

    Question for you all here:  Are you including resilience to such events into your design? If so, how?


    The design itself is resilient.  I'm not really sure what would be different to accommodate earthquake, except maybe shelter and an outside cob RMH/cooker. 


    On a lighter note, here's how they educate us to be safe in an emergency:




     
    pollinator
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    I grew up in B'ham WA, and was living there when Mt Saint Helen's blew in the 80's. That event woke me up to the potential dangers of volcanoes and earthquakes in the PNW. It put me on a path of prepping for what ever local disasters might be in the area, because as mentioned every place has some sort of potential disaster (usually several). When I lived in other parts of the country, I made sure to prepare for the likely potential disasters for that area.

    Having returned to the PNW to finally get land, rather than look for land on the West side of the Cascades, I instead looked on the Eastern side of the Cascades and bought land there. This made land cheaper, more rural, and more geologically stable. Which is an option you might consider. Moving your search East of the Cascades will put you into more stable ground. Though wild fires, and ash clouds from volcanoes are still issues.

    If your heart is set on Willamette Valley I would suggest looking at earthquake safety. Japan and California for example have lived with high amounts of quakes for a long time and have produced a plethora of info on how to prepare for a quake. There is a lot of info out there on how to prepare and minimize your dangers. A big part of what makes the Cascadian fault a big potential disaster is how under prepared the infrastructure is. It is not that you can't survive such a quake, it is the PNW infrastructure was not built to survive such a quake. Bridges, power, water, gas, hospitals, etc... were not made to hold up to such a quake. It is these issues that make the Cascadian region ripe for such a massive disaster when the fault goes. Being prepared and having decent amount of supplies would be pretty essential as well as having decent preparation at home so your home survives.

    Just because there will be a large quake does not mean you can't build your dream in the PNW, it just means you need to make sure you prepare for it well and know the risks and dangers.
     
    Matt Richards
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    I grew up in the bay area and felt the force of the '89 quake. It was enough to let me know there are forces at work under the earth we can never fully comprehend. The fact that this one will be on a scale that humanity has never recorded is enough for me to stay down south where we have ones that are manageable. The lack of infrastructure is just a nail in the coffin. I admire you guys and your persistence in the face of adversity but the risk/ reward ratio is just a bit too low for me on this one.
     
    pollinator
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    I have one house that will be going into the brink.  Bye bye.   I did not realize when I built it that it was in a subduction zone.   I grew up in Alaska in a subduction zone.  I understand what that means.   I literally - and not the millennial version of literally - puked in my mouth when I realized it was on a subduction zone.  But that ship has sailed.

    My home is on land within a couple of miles of two quarries.  I feel better about this one.  The next property will be even further away from the fault.

    Yes, it is a real issue.  Yes, I would plan around it.
     
    master steward
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    Matt Richards wrote:After reading the advice of a few threads here for places to get cheaper land, I started doing some research on plots available in the williamette valley. Then my partner's mother (of all people) sent her this article:
    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/the-really-big-one

    Needless to say it has put my search for land in the PNW on hold...

    Question for you all here:  Are you including resilience to such events into your design? If so, how?


    I've learned a lot of things that, to be honest, I have not put to use in terms of resilience planning or disaster preparedness. As others said, if it's not earthquakes, it's a storm (tornado or hurricane?!), or utility crisis, or fire, or the other things (that some are more concerned about than others) like acts of terrorism or currency or market crashes. So while in some ways some inland properties can be safer from earthquakes, there are still chances of earthquakes near almost any mountains, and then, like others said, you have more risk of forest fires, and some times tornadoes when farther inland.

    I was born and raised in the Seattle suburbs - that is until I moved out here to Montana three years ago. I've gone through a few earthquakes in that area. One serious one, (was it in 2000?), I sat in our house, built on infill dirt, looking out over a steep, wooded drop off, while everything shook a LOT. I knew they had to attach the house foundation via pilings to the subsoil (it was disclosed in the purchase documents) and all I could think during the quake was that I was sure the house would soon take me with it down that drop off. Thankfully, the house stayed put. In fact, I think due the pilings, our house had less cracking/settling damage than our neighbor's, which was very close next door and was an identical floor plan, built by the same builder.  So kudos to the building code requiring the pilings and the engineers and builders who designed and built it!

    The worst part of that earthquake was getting in touch with my two kids, who were in different schools. The phone systems, both cell and landline, were overwhelmed and inoperable. I didn't know if the roads were safe to get my kids, if we were supposed to get our kids, where to get the kids...that was the worst part of it. The kids were fine, albeit a bit shook up (as were their teachers, too!) and plenty tired of waiting by the time I was able to get to them both.

    So yes, it's a good reminder to include disaster preparedness in household, homestead, yard/garden, storage planning and design. From what I've learned, I'd add these to any planning, discussion and design ideas (some of these are a repeat of R's suggestions):

    People systems / communication:
  • non-perishable food and water storage - I agree with R that 72 hours worth is not enough and that, for some reason, I am unable to make lentils edible
  • communication - do not expect cell phones or landlines to work - notes, pre-arranged meet spots, CB radios, etc. will often be better
  • meetup spot - discuss beforehand a meetup spot if the house is off limits, unsafe, or on fire - that special tree at the end of the lane, Grandma's house, etc.
  • bug out bag, bin or container, or trailer or car - my kids' schools kept emergency preparedness supplies in new trash cans or even storage trailers outside of the school building; a friend of mine had a camping trailer that she always kept packed with food, water and supplies - which made for super-easy impulsive weekend getaways, plus they used up the supplies regularly so they never got old, and always replenished afterwards.

  • House design and tips:
  • tip prevention/anti-tip straps - most appliances come with tip prevention wall attachments these days, though these are also important for bookcases and other furniture
  • bedroom exits - know how to or have a system or ladder to get out if the hallway(s) or stairs are blocked
  • wall hangings - more secure is better, especially over the head of the bed
  • food storage areas and systems - make as stable, resilient, and perhaps in multiple locations, e.g, part in the house, part in the garage or something

  • Homestead/garden/landscape/farm design:
    Almost all of your permaculture systems will create a more resilient system better able to resist fire, storms, and even earthquakes.
  • fire and wind breaks - earthworks and increasing soil fertility and diversified plant systems all resist fire and wind damage
  • water retainage/storage - water catchment of all kinds helps in many ways for many types of crises, water flow control is especially important for excess rain, flooding, etc. as well
  • animal systems - the more homestead animals are foragers or pasture-raised, the more resilient they will be if commercial feed becomes unavailable for a time







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    r ranson
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    I would rather an earthquake than any other major disasters I can think of.

    It's the aftermath of a disaster that scares me the most.  Surviving the initial problem is a challenge enough, but surviving the weeks if not months until help comes - and I know what 'help' looks like.  It's unlikely they can meet my allergy needs.  I have a better chance of feeding myself than depending on emergency rations. 

    In an earthquake, my garden is likely to stay productive and available.  If that fails, other peoples' gardens will be producing and I can exchange my skills for food.  Failing that, I know how to wildcraft enough to survive (in relative ease) for several weeks if not months.  No other major disaster, natural or man mad, offers me that sort of comfort. 
     
    steward
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    I remember after a major southern California quake, the local newspaper printed an article, complete with picture, about stocking food for such events.  I was totally dumbstruck by the photo.

    A table full of:
    Instant coffee
    Lipton tea bags
    Oatmeal
    Rice
    Top Ramen
    Instant mac & cheese
    the list goes on and on, and on

    Everything in the photo required water to prepare (and cooking). 
    WTF were they thinking?
    I seriously hoped that NOBODY followed their advice.

    More practical items:
    canned pork & beans - protein & minerals - nutritious - can be eaten raw
    canned fruits/vegetables - sugar energy + syrup (liquid)
    canned sardines and tuna - great nutrition - loaded with proteins

    Look for things that do not require WATER, or COOKING



     
    gardener
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    John, I am not sure I'm following your logic.  There's not enough liquid in most canned goods to sustain life in a hot climate without water.  If you don't have water, you're in trouble, and starvation isn't going to have time to catch you.  If you're saying they didn't mention water storage, obviously that's nuts; but if they did, then compact dry lightweight foods are not terrible recommendations, especially if people may have to hoof it out of a disaster zone.  As for cooking, it's optional in many cases;  dried legumes and may some grains are the only category where you can't get along pretty well just by soaking the  food.  Rice is the only thing on the list you shared that even might need cooking to release its nutrition.
     
    John Polk
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    Obviously, we are going to need a supply/source of safe water.
    There was nothing on their list that you could just open the can and eat.
    It all required some cooking, AND water, which may become the scarcest commodity.

    In a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, there may be dangerous gas leaks, which pretty well shuts down any cooking.

     
    Dan Boone
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    John Polk wrote:Obviously, we are going to need a supply/source of safe water.
    There was nothing on their list that you could just open the can and eat.
    It all required some cooking, AND water, which may become the scarcest commodity.


    If you've got water, needing water isn't a problem; and if you don't have water, hunger isn't a problem for long.  So I'm still not seeing how the water-requirement matters. 

    As for cooking, I think you and I are using different meanings for the word "required".  I can parse what you're saying if by "required" you mean "to make the eating process maximally pleasant."  But I mean something more like "to be able to consume and digest" and once again, rice is the only item on your list for which that might be true.

    Instant coffee  -  not food; a comfort item to make boiled water taste better, source of caffeine, can be eaten dry
    Lipton tea bags - not food; a comfort item to make boiled water taste batter, source of caffeine, can be steeped in cold water
    Oatmeal - can be eaten dry for full nutrition.  Instant varieties are pre-cooked. 
    Rice - if instant/precooked, can be eaten dry or soaked in cold water; otherwise should be cooked because lectins
    Top Ramen - pre-cooked noodles soaked in palm oil; can be eaten dry or soaked in cold water.
    Instant mac & cheese  - pre-cooked noodles; can be eaten dry or soaked in cold water

    I am honestly confused about the source of our disagreement.  I'm not disputing that eating cold food from cans is more pleasant than eating improperly prepared dried instant foods; I'm not even disputing that the list of prep recommendations you saw was a poorly-considered list.  I'm just rising to the "there's nothing you can just open and eat" bait.  I think we maybe have a different idea of how important texture and flavor is (or isn't) in times of food insecurity.  Because I've definitely been hungry enough to eat everything on that list dry from the package except maybe the rice.
     
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    Dan Boone wrote:

    If you've got water, needing water isn't a problem; and if you don't have water, hunger isn't a problem for long.  So I'm still not seeing how the water-requirement matters. 

    As for cooking, I think you and I are using different meanings for the word "required".  I can parse what you're saying if by "required" you mean "to make the eating process maximally pleasant."  But I mean something more like "to be able to consume and digest" and once again, rice is the only item on your list for which that might be true.



    I agree.  (Uncooked ramen is my sick/comfort food - don't judge!)  Ramen is actually my short-term emergency stash - 5 packages/day is more than enough calories, so a carton will keep me going for a week.  It's lightweight and easy to store.

    My "I don't want to take up too much time optimizing this" short-term emergency stash is:  Several jugs of water, a stove to boil more water on, a carton of ramen, coffee/tea for comfort, a few sweet treats for variety and comfort.  Anything else that's in my pantry is gravy.

    This doesn't cover the case of long-term survival after a large-area catastrophic earthquake, sadly - that's a much bigger question.
     
    K Putnam
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    I bought a rocket stove for the sole purpose of having it available in the aftermath of our major wind / ice storms that can knock the power out for a week at a time.  Haven't had to use it yet, but it was an easy fix for the have-to-cook problem.
     
    r ranson
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    I admit it.  I don't have an emergency kit yet.  My emergency kit consists of my pocket knife.  There's enough growing here year 'round that I can just harvest food to keep me going until I can get myself set up comfortably. 

    That said, I do intend to get something a bit less energy intensive to use.  Allergies mean that industrial food I can eat is few and far between, so I'm not sure yet I'll have for raw food.  Probably a jar of nut butter and another of honey.

    Add to that, waterproof matches, a flint and steel, a cookpot, another knife, chemical water purifier (probably that horrible stuff called bleach), something to clean wounds with, duct tape (for everything from shelter to first aid), clean socks and underwear (kept dry, probably in a plastic jar), soap, towel (very Author Dent), large cloth, shiny emergency blankets, gin, one kilo of salt (for food preservation), about a pound of flour, about two kilo worth of dry beans/peas and maybe some dehydrated flavour like chilies and spices.  Thinking about this, fats are going to be one of the more difficult things to get easily, so perhaps a plastic bottle of olive oil. 

    The plan is to make 6 of these kits and stash them in different places.  One near the front door, one near the back, one in each vehicle (because chances are we won't be home when the disaster strikes), and a couple in some small outbuildings that won't be too difficult to dig out if they collapse.  There's also the rocket cookstove that's easy to get to.  This is going to make life much easier.

    Until then, I'm confident with my pocket knife.  If I lived in a big city or in a place that didn't have year 'round food to harvest (garden or wildcraft), I would be far more worried.
     
    pollinator
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    R Ranson wrote:I would rather an earthquake than any other major disasters I can think of.


    I like subjects like this, because it interests me when people I agree with on so many subjects look at a thing much differently than I do.  I live in WI where our "natural disasters" are storms, both winter and otherwise, and tornados.  Building a shelter to take you through either event is relatively cheap and easy, as opposed to an earthquake.  There is also very little chance of either of them taking out power and other supplies for an extended period.  The longest I have ever been without power is 4 days, and that is when an ice storm killed many of the power lines when I lived in the PNW.  I'll take those over an earthquake any day.


    Dan Boone wrote:
    John Polk wrote:Obviously, we are going to need a supply/source of safe water.
    There was nothing on their list that you could just open the can and eat.
    It all required some cooking, AND water, which may become the scarcest commodity.


    If you've got water, needing water isn't a problem; and if you don't have water, hunger isn't a problem for long.  So I'm still not seeing how the water-requirement matters. 



    I'm more in John's camp on this issue, although I see both of your points.  The thing for me is, water isn't a binary, "have it or you don't" commodity.  In times of natural disasters, water can become scarce; I might have some, but probably not as much as I'd like.  You may be able to eat dry ramen or oatmeal, but I'll take cans of stew, tuna, pineapple any day.  And for the record, I store both canned items and things like beans, rice, pasta.
     
    Devin Lavign
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    Dan Boone wrote:
    John Polk wrote:Obviously, we are going to need a supply/source of safe water.
    There was nothing on their list that you could just open the can and eat.
    It all required some cooking, AND water, which may become the scarcest commodity.


    If you've got water, needing water isn't a problem; and if you don't have water, hunger isn't a problem for long.  So I'm still not seeing how the water-requirement matters. 


    Having some water does not mean you have a large consistent supply of water. In a quake water supplies can be very vulnerable, storing large amounts of water tends to be less than practical, though some stored water is recommended. In large scale quakes, sanitation issues quickly turn into water contamination issues. So what you once thought was a pure source of water becomes a health hazard.

    Reducing the need for water to cook with is a very smart plan. Storing foods that come with water in them or can be eaten without need to add water first is a wise plan. This is not to say not to stock some add water foods. Rice or oatmeal are still great foods to stock up on. However make sure you don't only have foods that require water and cooking.

    Foods that don't require cooking also a smart move. While stocking some cook first foods is fine, having a good supply of food that doesn't require cooking first can really go a long way to helping post quake survival. The energy and effort to cook as well as the fuel and preparation to cook can be a bit much for folks who have just survived a quake, or who have been working all day trying to help neighbors dig out their trapped little girl, or other such post quake tasks.
     
    pollinator
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    What about the tsunami that is supposed to follow a PNW quake? Wouldn't that be much harder to survive then the initial quake or even the aftermath?
     
    John Polk
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    What about the tsunami that is supposed to follow a PNW quake?

    From what I have read, there will be a wall of mud flowing from the Cascades, through Tacoma, into Puget Sound.  Perhaps the tsunami will wash it back?
     
    Devin Lavign
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    Gilbert Fritz wrote:What about the tsunami that is supposed to follow a PNW quake? Wouldn't that be much harder to survive then the initial quake or even the aftermath?


    Yes, the Newyorker article discusses that. Indeed the tsunami is the real big initial threat. Coastal areas will be devastated. The Puget Sound however, should not be too badly hit by tsunami due to the geography, though likely will have some water inflow happening to the coastline. The Columbia river however will likely be hit pretty bad by a tsunami.

    Looking into the different areas and figuring out which is at tsunami risk and which is not would be a very smart move.

    Something to note from the Newyorker article, is the bridges issue. That is something to consider quite heavily in choosing a piece of land. If you have too much reliance on bridges that can fail to get in or out your property just might be isolated from any relief effort. A big part of what the article had said will make relief difficult is the likelihood of damaged bridges preventing access to areas.
     
    r ranson
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    Gilbert Fritz wrote:What about the tsunami that is supposed to follow a PNW quake? Wouldn't that be much harder to survive then the initial quake or even the aftermath?


    Not such a big deal where I am.  If we take the worst case scenario, quadruple it, the wave won't reach my house.  There are a lot of little islands along the coast here that break up anything like that.  A tsunami generally takes space to build up, so it would be more of a concern for us if it started on the other side of the pacific.  But, yes, other places along the coast have a much higher risk than I do.

    Preparation for a tsunami isn't much different than for a flood - know your risk, make a plan to head to high ground.

    It's like the quake, you don't need to worry about the actual event, it's only surviving the aftermath that is an issue (aka, you survive it or you don't.)  The biggest thing for me would be that the salt water would make any wood toxic to burn and things more difficult to cook with.  The benefit would be lots of nutritious fish for dinner.
     
    garden master
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    A lot of good advice posted here!

    One thing I discovered is that each county makes maps of the underlying soil's liquefaction. You can search "soil liquifaction" and the county's name you're looking for. It will show you whether your property (and kid's schools) are built of bedrock or old river bed, etc. Here's a sample map, of Snohomish County: ftp://ww4.dnr.wa.gov/geology/pubs/ofr04.../ofr2004-20_sheet61_snohomish_liq.pdf

    This is important because earthquakes do a lot more damage on the old river bed soil. That soil keeps wiggling a lot more than bedrock, which is one reason why earthquakes can be more devastating in areas farther from the epicenter.

    Another thing to look into is the lahar flows from volcanoes.  You can search "Lahar map" and whatever volcano is nearest to your house. Lahars are the giant mudslides that result from volcanoes erupting, and they can do devastation all the way to the Puget Sound. For instance, the Glacier Peak volcano (though not currently active), if it did blow could send mudslides down the rivers to wipe out Darrington, Burlington, Arlington, etc.


    https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/glacier_peak/glacier_peak_hazard_88.html

    For this reason, I chose not to live in any of those areas, even though the area is beautiful and the property costs lower and the soil often very fertile.

    So, while there are earthquake and volcano risks here, you can minimize them by choosing property away from lahar flows and with stable soil, just as one would avoid a flood plain to have a better chance of not having one's house flooded. (And yes, there are maps for flood plains, as well as maps for landslide stability...just look them up for your county)

    Another thing you can do to prepare to survive an earthquake is to get an earthquake alarm (https://www.amazon.com/Jds-Products-c-88quake-Earthquake-Alarm/dp/B001D8NMY4). These give you a 30 second to 2 minute warning (depending on how far away the earthquake is). For me, the $30 spent was a very worthwhile investment as it gives me enough time to grab my toddler, his diaper bag (with snacks and extra clothes), my purse/survival kit, get shoes on, and get out the door and away from the house. I live in a manufactured home, which even when tied down for earthquake safety, is not nearly as earthquake-proof as conventional homes, let alone homes that are built to be earthquake proof. So, I want to be OUT of my home and away from breaking windows, when an earthquake hits.


    There are also people working on an app for your phone that alerts you 30 seconds-2 minutes before an earthquake. https://earthquake.usgs.gov/research/earlywarning/

    I hope that helps!
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    Devin Lavign wrote:

    Something to note from the Newyorker article, is the bridges issue. That is something to consider quite heavily in choosing a piece of land. If you have too much reliance on bridges that can fail to get in or out your property just might be isolated from any relief effort. A big part of what the article had said will make relief difficult is the likelihood of damaged bridges preventing access to areas.


    Another thing to look into is making sure there are multiple roads that make it to your house. For example, in Washington there's a road called Hwy 2 that goes east-west (from pretty much the Puget Sound all the way over the mountains). And, pretty much any city/town east of Monroe can only be accessed by Hwy 2. So, if the road is damaged anywhere east of Monroe (or there's a accident, etc), you can't get home from a commute. There are no back roads, no alternate routes. You're stuck waiting it out or walking home. For me, this was reason enough not to live beyond Monroe on Hwy 2. You probably don't want to get stuck with only one way home. Not just earthquakes, but floods, fallen trees, construction, accidents, etc, etc, etc, can keep you from your home.

    It's also really good to map out multiple routes home, and practice them (and have any other driving family members practice them), so that you can get home. You might even want to print and laminate some maps with routs marked out on them, so you have them in case of emergency (this is something I still need to do for my husband, so he knows all the different ways home if a bridge is out, etc). We have no GPS, but I wouldn't like to rely solely upon it during an emergency even if I had it!
     
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    I have lived through many an earthquake in So Cal.  I agree that it is important to have an emergency kit on hand, for any type of emergency. Be prepared! That being said, I choose not to live my life in fear!  Your choice!!
     
    pollinator
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    My wife and I recently purchased property in the Olympia area in the South Puget Sound and we found this interactive map to be very helpful: https://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/protectiongis/geology/?Theme=wigm

    You can use it to look for areas of liquefaction danger, mudslides, etc. We eliminated one property we were looking at due to it being in an area of high danger of liquefaction and also on the edge of a flood area. The land we ended up purchasing was well out of any flood areas and only had a low liquefaction danger - It is also not at risk from a tsunami. We are also close enough to town to be able to get help quickly if needed - there is a fire station less than a mile away and neighbors nearby that we are on good terms with.

    We also went for a small one level home - we wanted this for a variety of reasons but it should also be less dangerous in a quake since there is simply less material to deal with. If the big quake hits we will likely have to rebuild our house but we should at least survive it.

    Also, most counties have interactive web maps that make it quick to review their environmental data. While this is not specific to quake danger I found it very helpful to determine other possible dangers - especially those from floods.

    Finally, my wife and I both have emergency kits that we can grab and go if needed. Each kit has enough supplies for two people for 3 days so we should be good with those for about a week even without help.
     
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