JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – The 1964 Good Friday Earthquake was the second-largest earthquake ever recorded. On March 27, 1964 a 9.2 magnitude earthquake unleashed nearly five minutes of violent shaking focused in Prince William Sound and felt in a majority of the state. The State of Alaska’s people, communities, and geography were forever changed on that day.
Of the 132 people who perished during the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake, 118 lost their lives from tsunamis. During the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake local tsunamis came ashore in some communities before the shaking stopped, while the distance tsunami had lethal effects as far away as Crescent City, California.
Governor Mike Dunleavy declared March 21-27 Tsunami Awareness Week. During Tsunami Awareness Week individuals and communities are encouraged to learn about the warning signs of a tsunami, determine if they live in a tsunami vulnerable community, identify evacuation routes to areas outside of the tsunami zone, and to practice earthquake and tsunami safety drills.
“In Alaska we have more earthquakes than the rest of the United States combined, but when we talk about earthquakes in Alaska we must also talk about tsunamis. While earthquakes can impact all areas of the state, the additional lethality of tsunamis make it critical we prepare for both simultaneously,” said Paul Nelson, Director of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “The Tsunami Ready program, community tsunami sirens, our emergency alert system, and tsunami education within communities combined to make Alaska well prepared for a tsunami response. Several tsunami warnings in the last decade has shown Alaskan communities are ready to take action when needed.”
On average Alaska experiences a 7.0 magnitude or greater earthquake every year. The sudden nature of earthquakes does not give an individual or family time to prepare after the event has occurred. Conducting non-structural hazard mitigation, developing a family emergency plan, having emergency supplies, and practicing earthquake safety must be done before the next big earthquake.
Earthquake and Tsunami Preparedness Resources:
Alaska Earthquake Center https://earthquake.alaska.edu
NOAA U.S. Tsunami Warning System www.tsunami.gov
The Great Alaska Shakeout www.shakeout.org/alaska
1964 Quake: The Great Alaska Earthquake https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lE2j10xyOgI
FEMA – Be Prepared For Tsunami Link