March 11, Remembering the 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Remembering and preparing on the West Coast of the USA.

by Eric Holdeman / March 11, 2019

It is not enough to remember great disasters, but better to learn from them and let them motivate us to become better prepared as states and local communities. See this Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW) piece on the most recent catastrophic Japan disaster, Remembering the Great Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011 And Efforts to Reduce the Impact of a Similar Event in the Pacific Northwest.

The tips on preparedness provided in the article fit people and organizations. Note that here in the Pacific Northwest, we have gone from three days of preparedness to two weeks. The difference is that with a Cascadia Subduction Earthquake, help can't reach us right away. Even the active-duty military will take eight days to begin to arrive. 

We can learn from history and others, or we can replicate their mistakes. For instance, I think the greatest benefit of an earthquake early warning system is the machine-to-machine (M2M) warning that is possible, and described in the article above. Warning people (in all earthquake situations — those with only seconds of warning) is not possible due to the limitations of our commercial wireless communications, and the inability of people "today" to take immediate action. 

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