Camp Murray, Wash. – In a bid to highlight preparedness in the face of potential earthquakes and storms, Gov. Jay Inslee proclaimed October as Washington State Disaster Preparedness Month and NOAA Weather Radio Awareness Month.
The highlight of the month is the Great Washington ShakeOut “drop, cover and hold” earthquake drill at 10:15 a.m., on Oct. 15. The drill emphasizes the urgent need for people, organizations, schools, communities and businesses to practice what to do to be safe and to be ready before an earthquake strikes. In addition, most coastal communities will test their tsunami alert sirens at the same date and time using the real sound of the siren, not the Westminster Chimes that typically happen during the monthly tests. NOAA weather radios set to receive the required monthly test will also activate during this test.
“Our state faces a real danger from earthquakes, but one of the easiest ways to get ready is by simply practicing your emergency preparedness skills and participating in the Great Washington ShakeOut,” Inslee said. “I urge our residents to drop, cover and hold on – and then do one more thing to make sure your emergency kits are up to date, that your business has a continuity plan or just to make sure you know how you’d care for your pet in a crisis.”
People and organizations can sign up to participate at www.shakeout.org/washington. As of Oct. 8, with one week to go, more than 970,000 have registered. Last year, more than 1 million residents registered.
Preparedness will be key in surviving the next big earthquake to hit the Pacific Northwest. That means families need to have at least three days’ worth of supplies and an emergency “go” kit ready and, for those living on the coast, have an understanding of evacuation routes and the warning signs behind tsunamis – including how NOAA Weather Radio works and the coastal sirens.
The Washington Military Department has been leading a joint planning team to develop a state Earthquake Response Plan which it continues to test, refine and improve. The plan will be tested next summer during a multiple-day earthquake training scenario called Cascadia Rising involving multiple states and partners from across the region.
The governor also proclaimed October as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio month. The governor’s proclamation notes NOAA Weather Radio provides emergency alerts about approaching hazards, and gives residents and businesses the critical lead time necessary to prepare and to take the appropriate public safety actions before, during and after a disaster.
In addition, the governor notes a related emergency preparedness campaign called Take Winter By Storm, also kicks off in October. It highlights preparedness specifically for winter storms.
This is the fourth year for Washington State to participate in the Great ShakeOut initiative. From noon to 2 p.m., on Oct. 15, Washington state earthquake preparedness experts will gather online for a Reddit Ask Me Anything – an online Q&A.
We also encourage participants to take photos of themselves participating in the drill and post those photos to social media using the hashtag #washakeout.
Preparedness tips are available here: mil.wa.gov/preparedness