Quake drill goes smoothly

Last Wednesday's statewide earthquake drill went "pretty smoothly" at the Clallam County Courthouse, said Emergency Management Department Director Bob Martin.

"Evacuations were very orderly and I thought people did a good job. We may get some reports from other locations, since it was a statewide drill," he said.

The statewide earthquake drill was held between 9:45 a.m. and 10 a.m. April 22 as part of Disaster Preparedness Month.

Martin said the drill was focused specifically on an earthquake because what people are supposed to do in an earthquake differs from a fire.

"In a fire, you just evacuate and assemble outside. This drill was to remind people that when the building is shaking to stay inside until it stops.

"More injuries and deaths occur when people try to leave while the shaking is going on rather waiting until it stops.

"It was a scenario to remind people that it's 'duck, cover and hold' and also to get them familiar with evacuation points and evacuation routes," he said.

Martin said evacuating the courthouse took fewer than 10 minutes and the entire drill lasted about 20 minutes.

"That's a pretty good time. Courthouse staff is pretty smooth at this now," Martin said.

The drill didn't include anything on survival after an earthquake but people should consider keeping some kind of "grab and go kit" at the office in case it's rainy or windy or cold outside, he said.

The Clallam County commissioners declared April as "Disaster Preparedness Month."

Gov. Chris Gregoire said, "Citizens should prepare themselves to be self-sufficient for at least three days following a natural or man-made disaster."

The most recent major earthquake to hit the North Olympic Peninsula was the Nisqually quake, magnitude 6.8, that struck near Olympia on Feb. 28, 2001.

Previous earthquakes were a 5.1 one that struck western Washington on July 2, 1999, a magnitude 5.3 one that hit on May 2, 1996, and a 5.0 magnitude one that hit on Jan. 28, 1995.

Reach Brian Gawley at

Build 'grab

and go kit'

Preparedness information materials for such hazards as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes are available in the Clallam County Emergency Management office in the basement of the Clallam County Courthouse at 223 E. Fourth St. in Port Angeles.

Anyone interested in building a "grab and go" kit or organizing a neighborhood disaster response should contact the Clallam County Emergency Management Office at 417-2525 or visit its Web site at

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