Emergency responders used to say three days of supplies was what you needed in case of a major earthquake. Now, it's two weeks.
The change was fairly recent. It came after the June 2016 Cascadia Rising drill which tested the Pacific Northwest's ability to not only survive but recover from a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and resulting tsunami. The results found residents and state emergency response teams, were not ready.
Holdeman calls a 9.0 earthquake, as opposed to a hurricane, a "come as you are event." Preparing for it equates to fastening your seatbelt.
If you knew you could drive from A-to-B and wouldn't get into a crash, you might not wear a seatbelt. But you never know when that accident will happen, so you wear it all the time. And if you're in a fender-bender, you will walk away. If it's rollover crash, you're probably riding away in an ambulance. The severity of the disaster changes how much you need to be prepared.
"I've been in enough disasters and seen all the smug people that were smug before the disaster looking pretty helpless and pretty embarrassed when their families aren't prepared. It's no joke," Jeffrey Guite, President of Seattle-based American Preparedness, said. His company builds, sells, and donates emergency supply kits for individuals, schools, businesses, and disaster relief groups.
Guite say it's like buying insurance. You may never have to use the disaster kit, but you build it anyway for peace of mind.
What we've all been told for years is to be ready to survive for three days following a catastrophe. For a once-in-lifetime event, that's not nearly enough.
"Three days is good for your average, run of the mill flood event or road closed or big landslide," Holdeman said. "For a big regional disaster, and that would be an earthquake here, you need to be thinking about two weeks and not three days."
And in some cases, even longer.
“Prepare for at least two weeks on your own. That might not be enough for people on the coast; some local management is saying three weeks," Washington Emergency Management Division spokesperson Karina Shagren said.
Isn't the military going to come swooping in with pallets full of supplies dropped from a C-130? If the earthquake happens as you are reading this, it doesn't mean they're ready to launch to the rescue. Holdeman said that probably won't come for eight days. The most mobile-ready unit to provide that kind of mass response is the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. Naval support could also come from San Diego, but not for eight days.
"They don't have the ships just sitting there waiting to go someplace," Holdeman said, indicating that personnel will need to be recalled and supplies need to be collected and loaded. That will take awhile.