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Office of Emergency Management | Infrastructure Resiliency | Psychology of Earthquake Preparedness


An aerial view of Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force personnel and disaster relief crews searching Sukuiso, Japan for victims of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

An aerial view of Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force personnel and disaster relief crews searching Sukuiso, Japan for victims of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

Specialist Dylan McCord/U.S. Navy

We know that a massive earthquake will hit the Pacific Northwest in the future. More specifically, we know there’s a 37 percent chance of it happening in the next 50 years. It will be deadly and devastating and fundamentally change the lives of residents here.

Yet we are massively unprepared, both on an institutional level, and often, on a personal level. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has found fewer than half of Americans have a survival kit or communication plan ready for a disaster. And when asked specifically about whether they have enough food or water to survive a disaster, the numbers drop further.

  • Also, as a part of OPB’s “Unprepared” series, producer John Rosman explores what water infrastructure can tell us about the survival of coastal communities after what could be the largest natural disaster in American history. Click here to read more and see photos from this story.
  • And Think Out Loud producer Dave Blanchard explores what’s going on in our minds when we ignore and put off warnings about a looming disaster. Click here to learn more about the psychology of preparedness.

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