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American Red Cross Remembers the Nisqually Earthquake Anniversary


On the ten year anniversary of the Nisqually earthquake, the American Red Cross encourages Western Washington residents to evaluate their own personal earthquake preparedness and take steps to plan for a disaster.

Ten years ago on February 28th, Washington State was struck by the 6.8 Nisqually Earthquake. This earthquake was centered 30 miles southwest of Seattle between Olympia and Tacoma. The American Red Cross responded immediately and provided assistance to 200 families in Western Washington.

“Although this was the second strongest earthquake in state history, we were extremely fortunate in that its depth prevented extensive damage, injuries and even deaths,” said Randy Hutson, CEO for the American Red Cross Serving King & Kitsap Counties. “The Red Cross embarked on a renewed campaign to help tens of thousands of Western Washington residents prepare for such events and learn how to respond when the next earthquake or other disaster strikes.”

In response to the earthquake, the Red Cross established seven disaster relief supply centers around King county and additional one in Kitsap county. These Red Cross supply centers allow emergency supplies to be pre-positioned for use in future disasters and can be transported to emergency shelters. In addition, the Red Cross has provided disaster education for thousands of Western Washington residents in the past ten years.

Earthquake Preparedness Tips:

Become aware of fire evacuation and earthquake plans for all of the buildings you occupy regularly.

Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.

Practice drop, cover and hold on in each safe place. If you do not have sturdy furniture to hold on to, sit on the floor next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.

Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person’s bed.

Make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation.

Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs.

Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs.

Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.

Brace overhead light fixtures.

Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.

Learn about your area’s seismic building standards and land use codes before you begin new construction.

Keep and maintain an emergency supplies kit in an easy-to- access location.

Have an out of area contact because local lines can be difficult to access during a disaster. During a disaster, family members can call the contact person from out of state to report on their own status and check on others. A SMS text messages from a wireless communication device will often work if even if a cellular signal is not strong enough to make a voice call.

To learn about what do during or after an earthquake please go to www.seattleredcross.org or www.redcrosswashington.org. For more information or to set up a disaster preparedness presentation for a community group, contact us at (206) 709-4528 in King County or (360) 377-3761 in Kitsap County.

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The American Red Cross is a non-profit, humanitarian agency dedicated to helping make families and communities safer at home and around the world. For more information, visit www.seattleredcross.org.

Media Contacts: Katherine Boury, 206.726.3547

Karen Kim, 253.441.7646