Erika Ehmsen

Tucked under his desk, Washington State Geologist Dave Norman illustrates how to drop, cover, and hold on in an earthquake-preparedness drill. Photograph by Washington State

Ask anyone on the West Coast what their Facebook feed was serving up last weekend, and odds are it was an unsettlingly heavy dose of The New Yorker's fascinating/terrifying article on the Pacific Northwest's Cascadia subduction zone—which when (not if) it ruptures with a magnitude 8.7+ quake and resulting tsunami, is projected to rock and wash Seattle, Portland, and many other major cities off their foundations. Imagine the special effects of San Andreas in horrifyingly real life ... no don't. Do this instead:

Make this the weekend you get ready to rumblePut together your disaster-survival kit and family-reunification plan, to help you combat the West's well-known trio of greatest hits: earthquakes, tsunamis, and wildfires.

Because it's not just the Northwest that needs to be prepared: The SF Bay Area's Hayward Fault just rattled to remind us that it's due for a major quake "any day now." And quit that snickering in Idaho because you're in the Top 10 Earthquake States too—in fact every state in the West is at risk, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Think your kit is already complete?Watch our quick earthquake-kit video to cross-check for things you maybe didn't know you needed—like extra bottles of prescription medications and a photo of your pet.

Want to do more than just prepare to camp in your backyard?Get your house ready too. Ask your neighbors which contractor they used to add sheer walls and bolt the foundation of their home. And don't forget that fires can start when gas pipes are damaged; our 8 tips for protecting your home from fire can help.

And what should you do about all of your East Coast friends and relatives who read that New Yorker article and were posting "WHY do you live there? PLEASE move to the safety of New York/Boston/Baltimore" on your timeline? Tell them you love them too and ask if they'll serve as your out-of-state contact for when a disaster strikes.

 

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