Thursday’s Earthquake Prompts Alaskans To Prepare For The Next Big One
Magnitude 5.3 shaker was felt throughout Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley
ANCHORAGE—It was quite the wake-up call Thursday morning, and not just because a magnitude 5.3 earthquake shook some south central Alaskans out of their beds.
Shaking buildings served as a literal wake-up call to prepare Alaskans for the next big one.
The Alaska Earthquake Information Center says the magnitude 5.3 quake occurred at 6 a.m. Thursday about eight miles northwest of Skwentna and 74 miles northwest of Anchorage. State officials say there are no immediate reports of damage.
Even though USGS seismologists reported it as a moderate earthquake, it was large enough to open up people’s eyes to the bigger issue.
Alaska wasn’t always home for Eb Hope, but 30 years ago, he decided to raise his family here. In that time, Alaskan habits shaped his life.
“I think after a while up here you just become programmed to it,” Pope said. “You take earthquakes as just a natural thing that happens all the time. Not the big ones, the shakers, but it just becomes a normal part of life.”
But after Thursday’s earthquake, something changed.
“I look at who is at my house, and what could happen if it really goes bad,” Pope said. “Am I going to be able to take care of this group? Until help comes, until we can get back to a natural state of life, we can to a point, for the long haul [but] I don't think I have what I need to last two to three weeks.”
The KTVA-CBS 11 morning show started right when the earthquake began shaking in Anchorage. Morning meteorologist Eric Snitil felt the earthquake live on-air during his first segment.
Snitil isn’t used to the shaking though. He moved to Alaska from Ohio less than a year ago, and this morning was a reminder.
“It was probably a good lesson from my perspective at least for a safety standpoint, to know that the next time that happens I might have to do a little more hiding [under the weather desk] as opposed to smiling [on camera] as if nothing is going on,” Snitil said.
However, hiding under a desk isn't the only way Alaskans can prepare for an earthquake. Using natural disaster kits is one way the American Red Cross continues to push people to get ready before a massive earthquake strikes.
“We really encourage folks to really be self-sufficient for those first 72 hours,” said Katie Bender, American Red Cross of Alaska. “It may not be pretty but it will get you through.”
The Red Cross message has evolved over years, just like Pope’s plan.
“I ain't crawling under no table,” Pope said, laughing. "It 's a fact of life here. It’s something to take it serious. I take earthquakes serious. But have I ever got real serious about being prepared? No, I haven't. Will I now? Yes.”
The American Red Cross’ 72-hour emergency kit is a quick start to prepare for earthquakes. The Red Cross sells it online for $60 and includes a battery/solar panel/crank radio and flashlight, an emergency blanket, food bars and even work gloves.