It’s been a long time since the United States has experienced major damage and a high death toll from an earthquake, long enough that an entire generation has grown to adulthood without experiencing it.
We are currently seeing an impressive increase in seismic activity. California and Nevada registered 1098 earthquakes in the past week alone. The Pacific Northwest and Alaska are also seeing high numbers of small and medium earthquakes. While there was no serious damage so far this year, the sheer number of quakes are enough to raise eyebrows.
The west coast is not alone. The Midwest, East Coast, Central America and the Caribbean are also seeing increased seismic activity including one 7.6 quake east of Honduras. In fact, four of the six biggest earthquakes in the past 30 days have been in the Western Hemisphere.
Although no one can predict when or where the next “Big One” will hit, emergency managers should take this as an opportunity. Review and update any earthquake related plans, conduct exercises and investigate new technology available to help you do your jobs more effectively.
It’s also a good time to think about effective emergency communication. Again, there are millions of teen and twenty-something Americans who have never seen a major earthquake hit an American city. Many of them rely almost solely on online and social media for news and information. Ensure your communications are able to reach as many of your citizens as possible, and that the information sent is effective.