What to do when you live in earthquake country

Last week, I completed a reporting project focused on earthquake preparedness. With recent earthquakes throughout the world fresh in people’s minds, I thought it would be a good time to remind readers about what to do before, during and after an earthquake. After all, Western Washington is considered one of the most active earthquake regions in the United States, if not the world.

Hazard maps are used by structural engineers to design buildings to withstand extreme shaking of various kinds. This map depicts maximum ground acceleration (measured in gravitational pull) from an earthquake with a 2 percent chance of occurring in the next 50 years. (Click to enlarge)

This isn’t so much a water issue — except that families should store at least three gallons of water for each family member . But I wanted readers of Water Ways to know that the Kitsap Sun now has a Web page that will remain in place for people to get basic information about earthquakes. It’s easy to remember: kitsapsun.com/earthquakes.

A special piece of that page is an interactive map linked to a timeline of major earthquakes throughout history in the Northwest. Putting all those earthquakes on a single map would have created an unreadable clutter. Instead, only a handful of earthquakes appear at any time as you scroll through the timeline. Thanks go to our web editor Angelia Dice and technical wizard Brian Lewis for putting this map together and making sure it works right.

This earthquake page is meant to supplement ongoing information provided by Washington State Emergency Management as well as local emergency management agencies. These agencies will coordinate official information during a disaster, as news goes out on all forms of media that can get up and running — radio, television, websites and print. At the Kitsap Sun, we are thinking about our role in helping average people cope when things start going a little crazy — as we can expect one of these days.

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