San Juan County residents are passionate about disaster preparedness.
And we are much more likely to survive isolation from the mainland with just a little bit of foresight.
Though the islands are safe from regular weather-related disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes, they are more susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis. Many in our area are aware of the “big one,” a highly anticipated earthquake expected to surpass a 9.0 on the Richter Scale. A quake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone has the potential to affect everyone along the West Coast, from Orcas down to San Francisco.
During an outage caused by an earthquake, power could potentially be out for several weeks. It is imperative for residents to have food, water and other necessities (including for pets) stockpiled to last them for at least two weeks following a disaster. It’s also important to have a 30-day supply of essential medications and a way to cook, a way to stay warm in an extended power outage and a disaster plan with neighbors.
San Juan Island Fire and Rescue has five stations across the island with station 31 in Friday Harbor being its headquarters. There’s also a station on Brown Island and a satellite station on Pearl Island. In the event of an emergency, the neighborhood fire station is intended to become station command.
The DEM has helpful materials online at www.sanjuandem.net/prepare and are very willing to send staff to talk to neighborhoods, businesses, churches, or any group of islanders looking for some direction and help with preparing.
Next month, the DEM and Economic Development Council are teaming up to present a training on disaster preparedness for small businesses. This concise class will provide basic information about the risks to the islands and will offer some simple tools and approaches to help businesses prepare. They will be held on Tuesday, March 26, 8:30-10:30 a.m., Heritage Bank, 535 Market St., Friday Harbor and 1:30-3:30 p.m. To participate, register online at http://www.sanjuandem.net/2019BusinessPrep.
We applaud islanders for their interest in planning for the worst, and their willingness to look out for both themselves and others.
As Cowan said, “If you’re not able to take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of your community.”