As a community, we are our last best hope — Though the Stillaguamish Valley may not be subject to a tsunami when the big one hits, it will be subject to some rather prolonged and possible intense shaking as the shock-waves from the Cascadia Subduction Zone come rolling through. It’s been determined that the shaking may well last for over 4 minutes (longer periods in some areas) — Those who reside on the valley floor, or other associated flood plains, may experience stronger shock-waves than those who reside on more stable ground like knolls or hill-tops.
Nevertheless, the shaking will be the single most unnerving event at the start regardless of whether you are on a hill-top, or the valley floor. Wood framed homes may experience less damage than their other non-wood framed counterparts — Even still, there can be a great cause for concern. The Stillaguamish Valley has a rather remarkable make-up in it’s geology. Flat valley floors, gently sloping hills, steep rising bluffs, rocky river canyons and more. Rocks can come tumbling down, and ground elevation on the flat can change in a moment, leaving gaping cracks (cite Alaska earthquake 1964)
Aside from the impending after-shocks, we might do well to consider that other quake related events might have happened or are happening as you assess your own. A rock slide might have happened on SR530 on the way to Rockport — Cicero Bridge might have shifted a bit and WSDOT has closed it — Interstate 5 is closed for all of the bridges that need to be reinspected —
As the old saying goes, “You have to take care of yourself, before you can take care of others” — Your ability to help others is directly related to how well you have taken care of yourself. Do you have fuel for your chainsaw and power generator? Is there enough hay in the barn? Food in the pantry? — Staying focused and deliberate should be the order of the day in situations like this.
You’ve got it all handled — Fine — Now what? … OMG – The kids are at school. You’ve got to get to them right away. We would never attempt to undermine the great care and concern parents have for their children, I also am a parent, so yes, here’s a bit of empathy from our end — But as parents, we have to keep in mind that schools have their own disaster plans in place. Should an event like this occur whilst the kiddos are in class, please remember that it is the #1 priority of our school facilities and staff to ensure the ultimate safety of our children. Though you be deliberate in your parental fortitude to rescue your kids from the world and hold them close once more, it would be wise to just slow down. Take time and care whilst driving the 530 to go pick up your kids. There are going to be many parents out there all heading the same direction — All feeling and thinking much the same as you. Follow school administrator and staff directions to the letter — Remember that they too may have children of their own miles from where they are and their position at the school might have added a whole new level of anxiety that none of us might have ever stopped to consider —
Park on the street outside of the school and walk in to collect your youngster — Imagine the back-up that occurs on a regular day when buses are running during school pick-up, and then multiply that by 100x — This is how it will most likely play out if we are struck with a 9.0 quake.
Emergency Services —
Yes, you all know these guys — They live in our community, their kids go to school with our kids — These are the local emergency services personnel that we see daily in our travels. It might be safe to consider the fact that our emergency services might be overwhelmed — Power might be out, a bridge might have fallen, communication might be sporadic — Everything that could come into play during an event like this probably will. We already know that the worst is still yet to come, so we might do well to not burden our local emergency services with a lot of non-life threatening concerns. If it turns out that you are able to assist in some fashion, be sure to follow the instructions of our emergency services personnel implicitly.
Law Enforcement —
In the event that we be placed under curfew (I doubt seriously we will) please be sure to follow the instructions given by our local law enforcement — Theirs is to provide security the best they can, and given a 9.0 quake, they will be under many more times the stress that would normally be found during a regular day. Be mindful of your neighbours. Though we be a open-carry State, don’t go and get all crazy with your firearm if you happen to catch someone looting the guy next door. Follow procedure to the best of your ability when it comes to firearms. We can’t have a bunch of wild-west performances in our streets. We are, after all, in this together. Do what you can to stay kind but be focused and alert. Our law enforcement is going to need all of the cool heads it can muster.
Our Community —
Though on the outside, it might not appear that too much damage has occurred — Be mindful of what might be yet to come.
We may end up having to drive to Chelan or Wenatchee to obtain our fuel, do our banking or do our grocery shopping. The influx into our area of people from larger cities, like Everett or even Seattle, might be huge for instance. Power cut off, bridges down or closed by WSDOT, deliveries of durable goods cancelled because of the closed or damaged transportation corridors — and then, we may very well have a huge influx of folks from our coastal regions, as a result of the devastating tsunami. Everyone will need a place to go, and they’ll do what they can in order to get to where they think they may need to be.
There are going to be quite a few folks enough that will be unprepared for an event like this when and if it happens — Truth be told, I don’t think any of us will be ever totally ready because we’ve never had something like this happen before. Those of us with earthquake experience, including myself, might be somewhat surprised at the veracity of the shaking when it occurs. Another part of being ready is having the knowledge that FEMA isn’t going to show up in a day with it’s arm out and it’s leg up for us. It might even be weeks, or even months before we see anything from FEMA if even at all — This whole event will be much larger than the Oso Landslide — FEMA is going to have bigger fish to fry in Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, and the coastal communities than to be having to worry much about us. This is why it’s important that we take care of ourselves and our community members directly should this event occur.
If the power goes out, how will we communicate? How will we be able to find loved ones, go online, call our family members? These, in and of themselves are great questions.
Though it might be that there are no clear answers, we do well to consider our options should we be faced with the inability to communicate.
Over the years, various wireless service providers have been building Solar Powered Remote Cell Tower Sites in the mountains — Check with your wireless provider to find out which areas they serve that may have these kinds of capabilities. Keep in mind that wireless communication towers built in the mountains may stand a better chance of survival because they are build on rock, as opposed to being built in the soft sediment lowlands. Rock experiences a lot less intense shaking than does sediment filled valleys. Chances are quite good that a Solar Powered Remote Cell Tower might be within close range to where you are. Satellite is still yet another option for communications .. Say for instance, if you have DISH – All you need is a power generator to run your local equipment and you should be fine. A worst case scenario in situations that require you to use your phone would be that you would have to charge it in your truck if your power is out but your service still works.
We live in one of the most dynamic and beautiful parts of the State of Washington. Looking at the bigger picture we have to realize that earthquakes and volcanoes are all a part of what goes on here — Earthquakes of large magnitudes have happened before, and they will happen again. That’s just the way it is. Being prepared and being educated as to what goes on during these events can take the edge off considerably.