When the big one hits, you may not know where you’ll be, but you know what you’ll do. You’ll grab your cellphone or smartphone and you’ll call. You’ll text. You’ll hit Facebook. You will tweet. Or will you? Efforts are now under way to make sure we stay connected when the ground rips apart.
Cyndi, Karen and Deb are three friends pouring over the latest Facebook updates.
“I wanna actually add some photos from the last drill,” said Karen Berge.
But this isn't the Monday morning coffee klatch. This is life-saving work. They are volunteers shining a light on a dark day most of us don’t want to think about.
“I don’t want that feeling of fear when all of a sudden things start shaking,” said Berge.
So these women are some of the volunteers preparing West Seattle for the worst through social networking.
“The nice thing about Facebook is it has the potential to build community in a big city like this,” said Berge.
All of our social networking can prepare us for a very low tech reality. In the event of an earthquake we may not have Facebook or Twitter but we will have our neighbors. West Seattle set up nine hubs at area parks where people can gather for help and community.
“If people are prepared and family is safe they can come to a hub and either see if they’ve got something people can use or some need,” said West Seattle Hub Coordinator Cindi Barker.
And that includes answering the call when it comes to our cell phones. Ten years ago we struggled to get through. Today, Verizon wireless has a battery of backups when the big one hits, starting with batteries - a room full of them.
“And then we have diesel generators so we not only have backups, we have backups to our backups, said Verizon Public Relations Manager, Scott Charlston.
But even Charlston acknowledges the best backup plans may not be able to keep up with a natural disaster.
“The best way to communicate in that kind of scenario is with a text message. It takes up far less space on the network. You’re much more likely to get through when there’s a massive response to an emergency or crisis," he said.
The bottom line, in the event of an earthquake we may get more face time with our neighborhood Facebook friends. Because when it comes down to it, our status depends on our preparedness.
Our Facebook friends are sharing their memories of the Nisqually earthquake. Read them on our page.