Are you prepared for the next earthquake?

Photo courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Photo courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

As the anniversary for the 1964 “Good Friday” Alaska earthquake looms, Alaskans are reminded it could happen again.

Sourdough Caleb Albeman recalled how the 1964 earthquake — the second-largest in world history — ripped through his Wasilla neighborhood, slamming trees sideways and tearing homes in half. It was on his tenth birthday.

“Sometimes we get too comfortable today. How forgetful we can be,” Albeman said.

Throughout September, UAA will have earthquake preparedness events such as evacuation drills and a “Quake Cottage.” University Police Department Lieutenant Ron Swartz, who is also the campus emergency manager, dished out information on earthquake preparedness and safety for those who cannot make the events.

“There’s a theory that in this area of the globe we can expect a significant earthquake every 50 years,” Swartz said.

Swartz said people need to prepare both physically and mentally should another major earthquake occur. City officials will be too busy assisting the vulnerable citizens, so people need to be self-sufficient. Be aware that Providence hospital will also be overflowing with patients.

Alaskan Earthquake Facts
Graphic by Jenna! Roosdett

Minimal preparedness:

  • Visit to update your information so UPD can update you consistently.
  • Know at least two exits per building on campus.
  • Have an emergency kit in your car or office with a flashlight, whistle, small first aid kit and enough food and water to sustain you for three days.
  • Consider taking a CPR/First Aid Class offered by UPD.
  • Keep a list of phone numbers should your cell phone stop working.
  • Think about ways to communicate with family and friends. Think of an out-of-town contact too.
  • Create a seven-day emergency kit to store at home. A comprehensive plan can be found at
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Campus safety during a major earthquake:

  • Do not run outside if you are indoors. If you are outside, step away from trees, buildings and electric poles.
  • Drop, duck and hold on to anything like a table. As it moves, you move.
  • Designated volunteers will be very busy assisting several people, so self-deploy to help others in need to prevent death.
  • Be aware that each building has specific evacuation sites both indoors and outdoors. Building managers or safety officers will direct you.
  • There will be designated shelters for those stuck on campus overnight, such as Rasmuson Hall and the residence halls.
  • Nursing stations will be set up around campus.
  • Be aware that the ice rink in the Wells Fargo Sports Complex will be used to store victims of fatalities. There are not enough properly refrigerated facilities in Anchorage.
Earthquake Scale
Graphic by Jenna! Roosdett