DNR helps you be prepared, not scared as nation marks PrepareAthon

Mount St. Helens eruption viewed from an airplane.
On the morning of May 18, 1980, Keith Stoffel, then a DNR employee, took this photo while on a sightseeing flight over Mount St. Helens. It is the only known image of the initial eruption. Stoffel, his wife and the plane’s pilot narrowly escaped the rapidly spreading ash cloud. Photo: Keith Stoffel (c) 2010.

Millions of Americans will consider the best ways to respond before, during and after disasters strike as they participate in America’s PrepareAthon! Sept. 30. The campaign encourages people to assess what hazards their communities face and what they can do if those hazards strike.

As Washington’s official geologic survey, DNR’s Division of Geology and Earth Resources is committed to making sure the people of Washington are prepared, not scared when disasters strike. We ensure this by improving our citizens’ understanding of the wide range of hazards our state faces – including volcanoes, landslides, earthquakes, tsunamis and many others.

When those hazards happen, you should have the best information about what to do and where to go. DNR research and reports will let you know what hazards are near you and those important to you.

Preparation starts with knowledge

For 125 years, the Washington Geologic Survey has been studying Washington’s geologic hazards.

Seismic risk map
This map shows areas of seismic risk from high (red) to low (grayish-green) and is from a 2007 report on the seismic design categories in Washington.

That study has led to the production of materials to give citizens an idea of where fault lines are active, where ground could liquefy during an earthquake, and what damage earthquakes could be expected to cause.

Historic tsunami map
This map shows areas where inundation modelling has been completed in Washington. The entire coastline of Washington may be at risk for tsunamis. Landslide-caused tsunamis can happen anywhere there are landslide hazards and lakes, rivers, or ocean.

Tsunamis could strike coastal and low-lying communities at any time. DNR’s Geology Division has helped create innovative strategies to help those communities be prepared and mapped tsunami evacuation maps to help those nearby know where to go.

More reports produced from studying all of Washington’s geology are available at the Washington Geology Library or can be accessed online through our new publications catalog.

Summary of volcanic hazards in Washington state
Summary of volcanic hazards in Washington state

We’ve also mapped Washington’s hundreds of volcanic vents.

For more tips on how to be best prepared for the next disaster, check with Washington’s Emergency Management Division.

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