Nobody is coming to get you' after an earthquake (happen any second - sophia & guy will - read comments

Submitted by Quest-News-Serv... on Sun, 10/18/2015 - 23:30.

Experts say there are four stages of denial that many people go through when it comes to natural disasters.

1. It won't happen.

2. If it does happen, it won't happen to me.

3. If it does happen to me, it wont be that bad.

4. If it does happen to me and it is that bad, there's nothing I can do about it because we'll all be dead.

"And I hate to tell everybody, but only about 2 percent of the people in a catastrophic disaster actually die," said Eric Holdeman, Director of the Center for Regional Disaster Resilience on the Tom and Curley show. "So bad news is, you're gonna be alive and your level of comfort and preparedness is gonna be based on this come-as-you-are disaster. There's no preparing for an earthquake. It just happens. You can't see it coming like a hurricane."

Washington is overdue for a large-scale earthquake, which is why so many participated in The Great Washington ShakeOut.

Related: Check the Northwest Earthquake Tracker

More than 300,000 in King County alone agreed to take part in the statewide event at 10:15 a.m. Thursday, including KIRO Radio.

And although it's easy to crack jokes about earthquake preparedness, Holdeman said the experience of an earthquake itself is no laughing matter.

"When there's a disaster like an earthquake, nobody is coming to help you," he said. "Police and fire, those are for day-to-day emergencies, not for disaster. So you've got to be prepared to be on your own."

Related: What to do if you're in your car during an earthquake

National studies have found that more than 40 percent of the population believes it is prepared for a disaster. Holdeman said people have a skewed perspective of risk.

"I don't think 40 percent of emergency managers are prepared for a disaster," he said. "People over-estimate their abilities."

If projections are correct, at least some pockets of Washington and Oregon along the Cascadia subduction zone will experience major destruction. If a magnitude 8.7 to 9.2 earthquake hits, the Northwest edge of the continental shelf will drop as much as six feet and then rebound 30 to 100 feet to the west. And it won't end there.

All the elevation gained will be lost within minutes, displacing an almost unfathomable amount of water that will move both east and west. That is why, along with being prepared for an earthquake, experts warn that Washington residents should be prepared for a major tsunami.

But things won't be as bad as long as people are ready. Washington Seismologist Bill Steele told KIRO Radio that some information being published, including a New Yorker article that went viral, err on the side of fear. As long as people have an emergency plan and some supplies, there shouldn't be 13,000 deaths as reported.

Holdeman said people think they are prepared by having a flashlight and scattered supplies around the house, but that's not truly being prepared.

"You may have to evacuate and you want all that stuff in one place in a kit," he said. "You need to be ready at home, in the car, and at work."

Other tips and notes from Holdeman:

• The most dangerous place to be during an earthquake in Seattle is in one of the old brick buildings in Pioneer Square.

• If you're in a car during an earthquake, pull off to the side. Be prepared to abandon your car.

• Plan on not being able to contact loved ones by phone, but text message would be your best bet. Pre-plan a meet up place with your family.

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