ANCHORAGE, AK — The State of Alaska will hold a number of events surrounding the 50th anniversary of the 1964 earthquake. Alaskans are invited to get involved by participating in a Great Alaska Shakeout Drill Thursday, March 27 at 1:36 p.m., by sharing their 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake stories and by attending a special commemorative event at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center.
Alaska is also conducting a week-long full-scale exercise called “Alaska Shield,” which will allow state and federal agencies, along with private sector and volunteer organizations, to practice their emergency response skills in response to an earthquake, tsunami or other natural disaster.
“It’s not IF Alaska will face another earthquake disaster, it’s more of a question of WHEN,” said Commissioner Thomas H. Katkus, “We are the most seismically active state in the U.S. and are home to three of the seven largest earthquakes in the 20 century. Everyone needs to be ready.”
Here’s how Alaskans can get involved in the 50 Anniversary Commemoration:
Great Alaska Shakeout
Individuals, families, schools, businesses, churches or any other organizations can participate in the Great Alaska Shakeout drill on March 27 by going to www.shakeout.org/Alaska to register. At 1:36 p.m., everyone is asked to practice proper earthquake response with “Drop, Cover and Hold On!” or to have a more extensive emergency drill. The State of Alaska has set a goal of having 100,000 Alaskans participate. The State has been holding Great Alaska Shakeout drills along with the rest of the U.S. for two years now. This is the first time Alaska will hold a drill on its own. After the 50th anniversary, Alaska will go back to participating in national shakeout drills in October.
Tell Us Your Story
Stories and photos of the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake are being collected. If you were in the state in 1964 and have a story or photo to share, visit www.ready.alaska.gov/64quake.
Commemorative Event at Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center
A free public ceremony will be held Thursday, March 27 when state and local officials will join community leaders to recall the devastation from the Great Alaska Earthquake in 1964 and the resiliency that Alaskans displayed during that time. At 5:36 p.m., which is the exact time when the 1964 quake occurred, participants will observe 4 minutes and 38 seconds of silence (the length of time the quake lasted) while viewing historical footage of the event. The ceremony also will include stories from people who experienced the earthquake first-hand and a lecture on the effects of the earthquake by a geologic hazard consultant and U.S. Geological Survey Volunteer Scientist Emeritus. The event is presented by the State of Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center and is sponsored by First National Bank of Alaska. In addition to activities at the Anchorage Museum, an extended venue will be available at the Egan Center March 27, 4-6 p.m. The extended venue at the Egan Center will feature 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake photos, an opportunity for 64 earthquake survivors to record their stories, and a video link to the remembrance at the Anchorage Museum.
Alaska Shield Full Scale Exercise
From March 27 to April 2, federal, state, nonprofit and other organizations will conduct a readiness exercise, based out of the State Emergency Operation Center on JBER and the Egan Civic & Convention Center in Anchorage. Thirteen communities, including Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley, Kenai Peninsula, Seward, Cordova, Valdez, Kodiak, Homer, Ketchikan, Juneau, Fort Greely, Unalaska and Fairbanks/North Pole will participate. The purpose of the Alaska Shield 2014 Exercise is to test state and federal agencies ability to respond to a massive disaster emergency, along with private sector and volunteer organizations.
Most importantly, Alaskans are being asked to think about how they can become better prepared in case of an earthquake, tsunami or other disaster. Details on what to do if an earthquake hits, how to make an emergency kit for your home or office and other important details can be found at www.ready.alaska.gov. Another suggested resource is the book The Next Big Quake available at ready.alaska.gov/prepare