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We lucked out again with Saturday’s early-morning 7.5-magnitude earthquake: The epicenter was far enough out and deep enough that, while many felt their houses shake and maybe heard things fall down on their decks, no one was hurt. We didn’t get a tsunami wave and our friends in Metlakatla and on Prince of Wales Island were safe, too.
We hope for such outcomes always. But families, as well as officials, should be ready if we need to be.
That means if the police tell us to evacuate to higher ground, we do so. Many coastal residents did need to evacuate. The Red Cross says, “Luckily, the tsunami warning was soon called off, but the threat did not come without the question of, ‘what if?’”
Tanguy Libbrect, CEO of American Red Cross of Alaska, released a statement on Monday urging Alaska to be prepared “at all times. Get a kit. Make a plan. Be prepared. Those are three important and lifesaving steps that should be followed by everyone, as emergencies can strike anywhere, anytime.”
The organization has tips for preparing for emergencies such as house fires, earthquakes and tsunamis on its website at www.redcross.org/prepare. There, you will find ideas for getting your home, school and workplace ready for emergencies. There are also specific tips for caring for children, people with disabilities, seniors, and pets.
It’s a pretty simple process to get ready, and surprisingly less time-consuming than one might fear to make an evacuation plan, for example (“Pull out a map and highlighter and determine two or three destinations and the routes to get there.”)
We are grateful that we didn’t need to evacuate in the wee hours of Saturday. But we can’t count on that always being the case. We can’t control everything, but preparing as if the worst could happen is a way of making our own luck. Like muscle memory, if we are prepared for an emergency, We won’t panic should the situation arise. We will know what we need to do and do it calmly.
Why not get ready?