What others say: Test your readiness with shakeout drill

Disaster experts say it’s not a question of “if,” but “when” another big earthquake like the one of Good Friday 1964 will shake Alaska. That quake, the second largest ever recorded with a 9.2 magnitude, and the seismic sea waves that followed killed 131 people. It reshaped the landscape of several coastal communities in Alaska, including Homer.

Most area residents are so used to smaller quakes that occur on a fairly frequent basis that we barely notice them. But we forget, the next one might be a lot bigger. Are you ready?

The second Great Alaska ShakeOut is set for 10:17 a.m. today. It’s a statewide earthquake drill designed to prepare Alaskans for, as a press release says, “the big one.”

If you’re an adult who thinks things like fire drills and earthquake drills are only for school kids, you might want to reconsider. Today’s drill is a good opportunity to evaluate how prepared we are as individuals and families, as well as at our workplaces.

The drill can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. On the simple side, it’s a matter of practicing the earthquake safety drill, “Drop, Cover and Hold On.” It goes like this:

■ Drop to the ground;

■ Take cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table;

■ Hold on to it until the shaking stops.

What about if you’re outdoors? Find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, streetlights and power lines — and then drop, cover and hold on.

If driving, you should pull over to a clear location, stop and stay in your vehicle with the seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops.

But what about after the shaking? If your family is separated, do you have a safe place selected to reunite? The experts recommend picking two places: right outside your home and outside the neighborhood in case you can’t return home. Do you have an out-of-state contact and do all family members have that person’s number?

Do you know how to turn off the gas supply to your home? As much as possible, have you quake-proofed your home by doing such things as securing tall furniture and bookcases to the wall? Is your water heater fastened to wall studs?

Do you have your emergency supplies ready? The experts recommend keeping enough supplies to meet your needs for seven days. In addition to food and water, those supplies should include a flashlight with spare batteries; a hand-crank or battery-operated radio with spare batteries; a first aid kit and first aid knowledge; a fire extinguisher; warm clothes and blankets; special items such as a week’s supply of medications; the proper tools for turning off gas and water mains.

You get the idea. It won’t be possible to prepare after a big quake happens; we need to do it now. That preparation has several benefits. For one, the better prepared you are, the better you’ll weather the emergency without help from others. That preparation also likely will reduce the damage and expense caused by a quake.

If you haven’t done so already, go register for today’s Great Alaska Shakeout at www.shakeout.org/alaska. The site contains plenty of information and resources for those who want to participate in the shakeout drill and be better prepared for when a disaster happens.

— The Homer News,

Oct. 17


Sat, 01/21/2017 - 23:42

What others say: Obama took right tack on Cuba

There’s no solution to the half-century old Cuba problem that will satisfy everyone, but we strongly believe President Obama made the right decision to end the troubled “wet foot, dry foot” policy.

Read more

What others say: Obama’s legacy a mixed one

President Barack Obama leaves office Friday after eight years as the most consequential Democrat to occupy the White House since Lyndon Johnson. And unlike that Texan, whose presidency was born in tragedy and ended in failure, Obama will not have the ghost of the Vietnam War haunting his days and eating his conscience as LBJ did all the remaining days of his life.

Read more

Op-ed: Trump won the news conference

Donald Trump should do press conferences more often. Not for the country’s sake, certainly not for the media’s sake, but for his. He really shouldn’t have waited 167-plus days to hold one, because the man gives great sound bite. Although I’ve participated in probably thousands of these staged encounters as a reporter, they’re not my favorite way of getting news — you almost never get any. The guy at the podium controls the proceeding. He can get his message out with little challenge from the assembled journalists who are limited to a question and a follow-up, maybe. Politicians can bob and weave through that without any of us landing a blow. And that’s our job: to penetrate the canned responses to their version of the controversy du jour and get at whatever truth they are hiding. Besides, Trump — who uses contempt for the media as a weapon, his preferred way to discredit reporting that displeases him —has a wonderful forum to do that. At the very least he should hold these confrontations as a supplement to his Twitter tirades. And frequently. It’s his opportunity to hold the media hostage as they cover live his rain of abuse on them.

Read more

Good luck in Juneau

The 30th Alaska Legislature gavels in on Tuesday, and we’d like to take a moment to wish our Kenai Peninsula legislators good luck over the coming months in Juneau.

Read more