It could have been worse; are you ready if it is?

  • Thursday, January 28, 2016 6:03pm
  • Opinion

When things started shaking in the early hours Sunday morning, were you ready? If not, will you be better prepared for the next one?

For many of us here on the central Kenai Peninsula, Sunday’s magnitude 7.1 quake crossed over the line from a little exciting to a little bit scary. And for several families, it turned downright terrifying when natural gas leaks caused by the shaking triggered explosions and fires, leading to a neighborhood evacuation and the loss of four homes.

Our hearts go out to those families that lost their pets and possessions, and we’re grateful for the organizations and individuals who have stepped up to offer assistance.

For the rest of us who had some minor damage or some broken glass to clean up, if it had been worse, would you have been prepared? If grocery stores had not been able to reopen, did you have food and water available? If power outages had been more widespread or had lasted longer, would you have been able to deal with it? If it had been a more typical January and the weather was colder, would you have been able to stay warm? And, if you needed to evacuate, would have known what to grab in your rush to get your loved ones out the door?

As we’ve said many times, in Alaska, it’s not a matter of if, but when a disaster will strike. Sunday’s earthquake was just the most recent example. We’ve had two summers in a row where wildfires have forced evacuations. Extreme weather, including flooding, and volcanic eruptions have impacted the peninsula on multiple occasions in the past 10 years.

A good place to start is with an emergency kit and an emergency plan. The state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has good information online at https://www.ak-prepared.com, including tips to put together an “Alaska 7-Day Emergency Kit.” The Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management webpage, http://www.kpb.us/emergency-mgmt, also has links to emergency preparedness information.

We’re relieved that Sunday’s earthquake wasn’t worse.

But let’s make sure we’re prepared for when it is.

More in Opinion

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, a Nikiski Republican, speaks in favor of overriding a veto of Senate Bill 140 during floor debate of a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 18, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Session ends with budget, dividend and bills passed

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

The Alaska State Capitol. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Listen to PAs; support Senate Bill 115: Modernizing PA Practice in Alaska

Health care is rapidly evolving, demanding a more flexible and responsive system

Mount Redoubt can be seen across Cook Inlet from North Kenai Beach on Thursday, July 2, 2022. (Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion file photo)
Opinion: Hilcorp Alaska: Powering Southcentral Alaska — past, present and future

Hilcorp Alaska has and will continue to fully develop our Cook Inlet basin leasehold

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, a Nikiski Republican, speaks in favor of overriding a veto of Senate Bill 140 during floor debate of a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 18, 2024 (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Collegiality matters

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Juneau Empire file photo
Larry Persily.
Opinion: Alaska might as well embrace the past

The governor, legislators, municipal officials and business leaders are worried that the Railbelt will run short of natural gas before the end of the decade

The Alaska State Capitol on March 1. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: Physicians oppose Alaska Senate Bill 115 — Independent Practice for PAs

Alaskans don’t want access to just any health care, they want access to high quality care

Norm McDonald is the deputy director of Fire Protection for the Alaska Division of Forestry & Fire Protection. (Photo courtesy Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service)
The Swan Lake Fire can be seen from above on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Alaska Wildland Fire Information)
Opinion: This wildfire prevention month, reflect on ways to protect each other and our communities from wildfire

Alaskans saw what happened in Canada last year, and they know it can happen here too

Jason Sodergren and retired veterinarian Ralph Broshes capture and attend to crane shot with an arrow, July 9, 2023, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo provided by Nina Faust)
What happened to the ‘Arrowshot Crane’?

In many animal rescues, the outcome is fairly quickly known, but the… Continue reading

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski addresses the Alaska State Legislature on Feb. 22, 2023. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Set ANWR aside and President Biden is pro-Alaska

Could it be that President Biden is more pro-Alaska than Donald Trump?