Alaska is located between two tectonic plates which means we experience regular earthquakes every day. The Great Alaska Earthquake was the second largest earthquake ever recorded, with a magnitude of 9.2. This natural disaster killed a total of 139 people, but only 13 died from the earthquake itself. So how did they die? The 1964 earthquake caused a 12 feet tsunami that killed 119 people. The total property damage in Alaska was 300-400 million dollars. In Alaska alone, we have an average of 1000 earthquakes each month.
Since earthquakes cannot be predicted, it is very important to be prepared. It is easy to prepare for earthquakes and tsunamis and to make sure your home and family stay safe. First, you should go around and check your house for unstable items such as picture frames, glass bottles, and etc. When you see these items, you should make sure they are sturdy and nailed to the wall. Also, if items cannot be attached to a wall, make sure they are away from an edge where they could fall. You should also check for places in your house for a place to hide under in case there are falling/flying objects (drop, cover, and hold on). A good place to hide would be under a table. If there is no table, under a desk or next to a sturdy wall will work. The last thing you can do is have a walkie talkie or something you are able to get ahold of the police or someone to help you in case of an emergency. With that, have an emergency kit that includes medical supplies, energy food and water, and make sure you know the emergency contact info for the hospital and police.
When a more powerful earthquake hits, it can cause things to fall, break, and even collapse. If you find yourself in a building during an earthquake, you should stay where you are until the shaking stops. Make sure you are ducking down and covering your head with your arms to protect from falling objects and debris. If the pathway is clear, or your are in danger of falling objects, you should try to reach better cover, such as under a desk or table. Staying close to a low piece of furniture can protect you from larger pieces of material if they fall. If you are outside, get away from things that could fall like trees, buildings, and powerlines. In a city, surrounded by buildings that can shed debris, it can be safer to get to shelter. However, in all of these situations, it is most important to stay calm and use common sense to make safe decisions.
After an earthquake it is important to stay calm. You should make sure you check yourself and others for injuries. Stay out of damaged buildings, they may contain debris like glass and sharp metal. Make sure to check water, gas, and electrical lines for damage. Report any damages to city public works. It is important to be aware that the aftershocks of an earthquake can be just as dangerous as the real thing. An aftershock is a smaller tremor that occurs after a large earthquake. They can cause already damaged areas or buildings to be even more dangerous. Emergency contact information includes the police (911), the hospital (907-235-8101), and the homer fire department (907-235-3155).