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News that Ucore Rare Metals is proceeding to the next step in its process toward developing a mine at its Bokan Mountain/Dotson Ridge property on the southeast coast of Prince of Wales Island should be viewed positively — despite coming at a difficult time for the rare earth element mining sector.

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Letty Eileen Cole, 93, died on Oct. 15, 2014, in Ketchikan.
Susan Marie Mallott Patrick, 58, died Oct. 11, 2014, in Ketchikan.
Daniel Edward Hines, 47, died Oct. 11, 2014, in Juneau after a nine-month battle with brain cancer.
6/25/2014
Quake response

It's often shaking in Alaska.

This week the Aleutian Islands experienced an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9, followed by a small tsunami. Small, in this case, amounted to seven inches — at least near Amchitka Island.

The earthquake prompts the question: How is one to react when a temblor starts?

Safety will be paramount. Real safety comes in being prepared. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends holding periodic family drills to practice earthquake response to the point it becomes automatic with the initial jolt.

Initially, the idea is to drop to the floor or ground while seeking cover and simply hold on. The safest places during an earthquake should be identified in each home or business.

Each home and business also should be equipped with an emergency supply kit. It should be located where everyone in the family or business knows where it is. It should include portable containers such as backpacks or duffel bags filled with items necessary for surviving outside without shelter for up to three days. Smaller kits should be placed in places frequented, such as motor vehicles.

Families and businesses should maintain lists of addresses and telephone numbers in order to be able to ease contact with family members and coworkers after an earthquake. Copies of the lists should be in the emergency supply kits.

Being trained in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation is helpful when disaster strikes. All ages of family members should know how to call 9-1-1, how to use a home fire extinguisher, and how, where and when to shut off a home's (or business's) utilities, such as water, natural gas and electricity.

After the earthquake, it will be necessary to check for hazards around the home or business, which were created by the earthquake or other disaster. If aftershocks strike, those hazards could cause further damage and/or injury.

We often think of preparing for an emergency when news of an earthquake or other disaster strikes. It's wise to follow through. Earthquakes in particular don't send out alerts or warnings before they occur. They come as a surprise. If we're prepared, then at least we can deal as best as possible.