Everyone is Behind in Being Prepared on the West Coast

It is not just the feds who need to do more ... everyone is lagging.

by Eric Holdeman / April 8, 2016

The devastation from a Cascadia Earthquake will be very significant, perhaps the largest disaster in the history of the United States. We are talking trillions in damages if it is a "full-rip" earthquake extending from British Columbia down to southern Oregon. Yes, the New Yorker article from last year got lots of attention put on this particular earthquake scenario, but tell me what changes have been done since that story? What measurable funding measures have been put in place to improve our abilities on the West Coast to deal with such an event?

OK, yes there was the $5M-8M for an early earthquake warning system that is still years in the future. But really, billions in damages and we can point to $5M-8M! That sum is indicative of the low priority that not only the federal government is taking to seismic safety, but also that of states and local jurisdictions. Yes, there will be the Cascadia Rising 2016 Earthquake Exercise in June 2016, but that was put on the schedule several years ago. And, how much federal funding is going toward the exercise and helping states and locals plan for and execute the exercise — you got it, zero. I should point out that each jurisdiction has a responsibility to invest in disaster mitigation and preparedness, but it is not significantly on the agenda because of economic pressures for other programmatic areas — like education here in Washington state.

See this article Senator: Feds need to better prepare for massive Pacific quake where U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, asked the question about the federal investment. 

Let's not forget that business along with nonprofits and the individual citizen have roles to play. Everyone is not carrying their weight when it comes to earthquake preparedness. 

Finally, the only good news is that everything "West of I-5" will not be toast. With a large tsunami, the maximum damages will be on the coast. There it will be "burnt toast" with "lighter toast" as we move further inland. "Toast" being the technical term used by professional emergency managers.

But it has not happened since 1700 and so we can probably skate by in our lifetime without having to become better prepared. Hope is a great thing, but it won't do you much good when something does happen.

Steve Myers shared the link above.