Disaster Zone

Quake Warning System Funded -- After the Next Big Quake

We have a terrible time in being proactive when it comes to disasters.

by Eric Holdeman / February 7, 2014

If there is anything I've learned from being in emergency management it is that we don't address issues until after a disaster.  It does not appear to be in our DNA to think proactively when it comes to spending money before we have experienced a loss.


The best quote from this article Who Will Pay for an Earthquake Warning System on the West Coast?  comes from Tom Heaton, "Heaton says that agency’s budget has been cut to less than one third of what it was 30 years ago. “For those of us in the earthquake business, we don't get any new resources until people die in earthquakes,” Heaton says. “It's really a sad situation.”


There are many good ideas waiting to be implemented, but it all boils down to, "Who will pay for the improvements to safety and disaster resilience?"  In an era of declining budgets at all levels of government we battle for resources for things that don't happen every day, but the effects of which will be devastating to people, business, structures and economies.  


The major advances all come after disasters.  This means we need to work hard now before something happens to know and understand what needs to be done.  Immediately following the disaster when elected officials and business leaders are looking for answers we should have them all laid out for them to consider and act upon.  


As examples, it was the Nisqually Earthquake here in Washington State that got the King County Regional Communications and Emergency Coordination Center (RCECC) funded and the national Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) through the Washington State Legislature.  Both efforts where there waiting for funding or approval.  It just took a disaster to motivate people to take action.  


Whatever your hazards or needs, have you projects ready for post disaster action.