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Drop, cover, and hold on — Today’s the day for your annual reminder of what to do when your get an earthquake alert in Seattle

Washington’s annual moment of earthquake preparedness takes place Thursday morning, October 21st, at 10:21 AM.

The state is again marking the third Thursday of October’s International ShakeOut Day with drills and awareness efforts. With the ongoing pandemic’s changes to the workday, this year’s training emphasizes how to safely get through a quake at home.

“If you’re continuing to work from home, take this opportunity to examine your environment for hazards and talk to family about where everyone would gather if your home was damaged and you were separated,” a statement from the Washington Emergency Management Division reads. “If you’re at a workplace or have kids in school, ask about what plans are in place for when an earthquake happens.”

The annual preparedness day comes as seismic stations are finally in place up and down the Pacific Northwest, meaning Seattle and the state of Washington, along with Oregon have now joined California in providing early warnings for earthquakes.

Most phones are now set up to receive alerts from the system automatically. Apple devices use the federal Wireless Emergency Alert system which also delivers AMBER and tsunami alerts. You can double check the setup in your notification settings under “emergency alerts” and “public safety alerts.” For Android devices, check your location settings under “advanced” to turn on “earthquake alerts.” Learn more at mil.wa.gov/alerts.

While Seattle is still largely unprepared for the “big one,” the city does know more about how much it would cost to retrofit its thousands of unreinforced masonry buildings. A new plan, meanwhile, will test a solar microgrid system at Capitol Hill’s Miller Community Center that is designed to give the facility greater resiliency in the event of natural disasters and the Hill’s Lowell Elementary School received a $260,000 seismic retrofit.

In recent years, Seattle officials have shifted advice for city dwellers for being prepared for the next big quake from having enough supplies for three days to “a more realistic” seven to ten days. Kits should include one gallon of water per person per day, food, a light source, and a first aid kit.

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