Mukilteo Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

By Chris Alexander
Fire Chief 

Prepared, not scared l Fire Sirens


Last updated 9/19/2019 at 12:45pm

September is National Preparedness Month (, a time for everyone to consider and revisit their ability to care for themselves after a disaster.

As we watch the pictures come in from Hurricane Dorian’s damage, we get an idea of the level of destruction that a major earthquake would cause here. Buildings destroyed. Roads blocked. Bridges damaged. Water where there used to be dry ground. Utilities cut off. In our case, add in landslides.

When disaster strikes, there are a finite number of police, fire, and public works professionals on duty. It will take time to open roads, search buildings, treat the injured, and secure utilities.

Traditional resources like hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and restaurants will not be able to open due to damage, loss of utilities, or inability to restock. Like the hurricane, it will take a long time for life to return to normal.

Looking at this locally, we sit on the South Whidbey Fault, which runs diagonally from Whidbey Island, through Mukilteo, into the county. In an earthquake along this fault, there would likely be little to no warning and Mukilteo would be the epicenter for the damage.

We also have the Cascadia Subduction Zone in the Pacific. We are not expected to have widespread damage from this earthquake, but anyone and anything between the railroad tracks and the water can expect to be underwater and buried in debris when the water recedes. Finally, the Seattle Fault will cause major destruction in Seattle, radiating outwards much like the Nisqually quake did in 2001. We could see localized damage and possibly a tsunami from that earthquake.

So, what can you do?

Make a plan

Learn the disasters that affect you. Figure out where to meet family. Establish an out-of-area contact. Write down emergency contact phone numbers.

Build a kit

We encourage everyone to plan to take care of themselves for two weeks after a disaster – food, water, first aid and medical needs, tools and supplies, important documents – in case you must leave your damaged home. If you have pets, you’ll need to meet their needs too.

Stay informed

Sign up for emergency alerts. Know your emergency radio stations. Purchase a NOAA weather radio.

Get involved

It will take the whole community working together to weather the storm. Get Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training. Get your amateur radio license and join the Snohomish County Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS). Start a Map Your Neighborhood program in your neighborhood. Join Snohomish County Emergency Response Volunteers (SERV) or the Snohomish County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). Many community organizations and volunteer groups are involved in disaster response as well. Look for information on Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) and Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD).

We have “Individually Prepared, Together Resilient” booklets at the fire stations and City Hall which have more details on the four action items above. The City also has a preparedness webpage, Snohomish County’s Department of Emergency Management webpage has more information on the organizations outlined previously,

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