After Sendai: 3 ways Capitol Hill can prepare for a megaquake

The horrific megaquake in Japan that hit one week ago may feel distant and unimaginable to Seattlites. Afterall, Japan is the known frequent recipient of the earth’s groundshaking, and in Washington we rarely feel the quakes that occur almost daily. But the big one is coming to the Northwest. Scientists are as certain as they can be.

The risk of devastation to Seattle, and to Capitol Hill, is real. Here are the top 3 things you can do this week to get prepared:


  1. Store drinking water. King County asks you to store at least 3 days’ supply for every member of your household – that’s 1 gallon, per person, per day. CHiPPrecommends 7 days. Build up to it, with a one-gallon purchase each time you’re at the grocery store. Store the water someplace generally accessible in your home. Replace it at least once a year. Keep some in your car if you drive, and at your office or workplace.
  2. Store food. Again, one week’s worth. My second cousin is subsisting off 1 bowl of rice a day, and rationed water, right now, 120km outside Tokyo. It’s not fun.
  3. Make a plan. This includes choosing a meeting place with your loved ones, and two out-of-state (better yet, out-of-region) contacts you can call or text to deliver messages about your safety.

If you want to prepare full-out, start with this calendar from The Red Cross, getting you well-prepared in 24 weeks.

Bonus points: Get involved in neighborhood preparedness. CHiPP  will be hosting additional community trainings later this Spring and Summer to help you take personal responsibility before disaster strikes, and respond effectively as a neighborhood when it does.

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3 thoughts on “After Sendai: 3 ways Capitol Hill can prepare for a megaquake

  1. After seeing the response time around the world, I would say have 7 days worth of food and water. It is as easy as bottles in the freezer and back of the fridge. For food, think canned tuna, beans, crackers, canned fruit.

    A few gallons of water for the toilet…it will get funky pretty quickly.

    Anyone who takes meds…make that 10 days…it will be a while before a pharmacy is open.

  2. I lived in Tokyo for many years, and now Seattle, too. You also need:
    1. Lots of cash
    2. Flashlights
    3. Portable radio
    4. First Aid kit
    5. Firewood and matches (if you have a fireplace)

  3. Thanks, neighbors, for adding your top preparedness items. All are important, and the most important step of all is to get started!