Arne says, Strike while the iron is hot!        Preparedness?  First collect your thoughts.
 Map of intact roads and bridges on Kitsap Peninsula in this artist's conception of the aftermath of an 8.0 quake.Did that Feb. 28 quake shake you up?  Good.  Now's the time to do some thinking.  If you live on the Kitsap Peninsula, and monster quake strikes, you are one of about 300,000 people living on a veritable island.  There are only two land routes to the mainland: Hwys 3 and 302.  If the approaches to the Narrows and Hood Canal bridges are reduced to mush, Hwys 3 and 302 will be also.

                     Hwy 302 after the Feb. 28th  6.8 quake 
                                                                                                                                            Photo by Arne

If no road leads to Rome, you're stuck with the ferries.  If you live in Gig Harbor, this means a drive to Southworth.  But if the roads are shot, the ferries may as well be in Sweden.  You've got to have another plan in place for family reunification in the event disaster strikes.  Communication must come first.  You need a way to verify the condition of loved ones when all essential services are down.  Sleeping in a car ain't so bad if you know your kids are safe.  After a disaster the first phone lines reconnected will be long distance to outside the region.  Messages may have to be relayed through HAM radio operators. Have a designated party to call outside our region to leave messages with.

                               All cell phones were worthless during the Feb. 28th quake.  The infrastructure was intact, but there
                               wasn't enough wherewithal to handle the traffic.  Now picture a quake where the infrastructure's all torn

After the recent quake, I turned on my 2 meter ham radio and listened while nets already in place coordinated information.  If you have a police scanner, you can tune in to the ham or the search and rescue frequencies for better street news than you get on TV.

                               If the power and phones are out, your only link to the outside is your car radio, or
                               battery operated CB or HAM sets.  Check out my  Radio Page  for ideas on alternative


                              On which side of the Narrows Bridge will you be when the next quake hits?

                              Where will your children be?

                              What's the school policy on releasing children to non parents if you can't get to them yourself?

What will you WEAR, what will you DRINK, what will you EAT?

                              In nasty circumstances, you can survive:

                                               Three hours without clothes
                                               Three days without water
                                               Three weeks without food

Be prepared to be on your own for a time.   You may have to sleep in your car.  If at home, and you have essential amounts of the above to keep you and your children off the streets for 3 weeks or so, you can avoid the food riots sure to follow an isolating natural disaster.  Don't forget an ample supply of necessary medicines.

If you can, lay away more than you need.  You will always have neighbors who live from paycheck to paycheck, or who just didn't see the handwriting on the wall.  Desperation can change the coin of the realm rather quickly, precipitating a meltdown of all civility.  People are often disoriented after a major quake, so the less you have to think about in the wake of disaster, the better.  Think about it now.

The Good News:

The good news is that because Hwy 16 is the major route joining 4 major military bases, it will be repaired as quickly as possible.  If your car is parked in the road, the bulldozers will clear it off.   Airports may also get some early attention.   But the major urban areas will be rebuilt and/or reconnected first.  Don't plan on outside help any time soon.

A warning:

Those with natural gas need to know how to shut it off at the source in the event of a leak.  There's no completely safe way to do this, but the surest way to blow youself up is to turn on a flashlight in the presence of gas.  The tiny spark is enough to set things off. Get a non-ferrous (aluminum, plastic, anything that can't strike a spark) wrench and tether it next to the gas valve so you don't have to look for it.  Be able to shut it off in the dark.  If the power's out, your're in luck.  The fridge motor won't be able to kick-in and strike a spark at the wrong time.

An alternative plan  is to leave the house before it fills with gas and blows you up.  Then you can sleep under a bridge.  For this and other reasons it's good to have an emergency car kit with bare essentials to see you through.

                                                           There was an old gas-man named Peter
                                                           Who was searching around for the meter
                                                           He touched a leak with his light; he arose out of sight
                                                           And as you can see by this, he also destroyed the meter.
                                                                                                               -I don't know who wrote this

In closing:
Make a plan.  While there's no blanket  preparedness formula that can apply to every party,  a ready mind and common sense will leave you better off than otherwise.  A good rule of thumb is as follows:

                             Injun build small fire, sit close.   White man build big fire, keep warm hauling wood.

 Page by  Arne Herstad                                           March 10th, 2001                                                  Arne's Homepage