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Department of Emergency Management


Press Release Detail

Thursday, February 26, 2015  15:19

Issued: Monday, February 25, 2013  00:00

Nisqually Earthquake Anniversary

This Week Marks the Anniversary of the Feb. 28, 2001
Nisqually Earthquake
This week marks the anniversary of the February 28, 2001, Nisqually Earthquake. At 10:54 am, the earthquake struck, causing an estimated two billion dollars in damage and injuring over 400 people from Seattle to Grays Harbor County. Two small aftershocks followed at 1:10am and at 6:23am on March 1st. Everyone in Western Washington remembers where they were, what they were doing and who they were with. If you ask anyone today about the earthquake, they’ll recall how the road moved in waves in front of them as they were driving. They’ll tell you of their chimney needing replacement and of the Capitol Dome in Olympia needing extensive repairs. The one thing they won’t be able to tell you, is whether they are prepared as a family for a natural disaster of that magnitude to strike closer to Grays Harbor County.
A recent survey by the American Red Cross indicated only 30% of families had some or all elements of an emergency plan, but only 12% were prepared for a disaster to a reasonable level. Barely 15% had a family emergency plan. Other issues that presented in the survey were, a lack of confidence in government response, a belief that they were prepared to an optimal level for the issues they deemed important and a belief that nothing they do would affect the outcome of the disaster.
The possibility exists for a local earthquake to impact Grays Harbor County which would match or be stronger than the magnitude 6.8 Nisqually earthquake. The earthquake could be based along one of the multiple inland fault lines passing through our county or it could be based along the Cascadia Subduction Zone Fault line just off the Washington Coast. The county could see extensive damage, loss of communication, numerous injuries and possible fatalities. Roadways will crack and become impassible. Landslides, toppled trees and power lines will impact response activities. Residential homes could collapse and be moved from their foundations. Buildings would see significant damage from the earthquake. Even buildings built to the earthquake standards specified in the newer building codes could be unusable. Worst of all, you may be separated from your family!
Grays Harbor County Emergency Management is urging all citizens to use this anniversary of the Nisqually earthquake to develop a family plan for disaster.
Does everyone have a contact number for a friend or relative living in another state to call and confirm you are OK?
Do you know how your family will communicate with each other when separated?
Does your child’s school have a disaster plan and do you know what they’ll do?
Does your employer have a disaster plan?
Do you have “Go Kits” prepared for each member of your family and each pet in the event you must leave your home?
Do you have copies of important papers, (birth certificates, mortgage papers, credit card numbers, prescriptions, and phone numbers of relatives in one spot to take with you? Do friends or family in another state (if possible) have a copy?
Do you have cash (small bills) to purchase needed items? ATM machines and credit card purchases may not be available due to possible power outages.
Please take the time to call your insurance provider before you are impacted by a natural disaster. Become certain what you are covered for, and mostly, what you may not be covered for. Take pictures of your belongings for your records.
Sign up for the Grays Harbor County Notification System at
Obtain an All Hazards Weather Radio and a small AM/FM radio to receive information should an event impact you and your family
Know your neighbors on all sides of your home.
Everyone, including those with medical conditions, must take personal responsibility for planning for such an event. DO NOT depend on emergency responders to assist you. The event will most likely overwhelm their capabilities.
Teach your children EVERYTHING!!!
For more information on family disaster planning contact Grays Harbor County Emergency management at (360) 249-3911 or e-mail at