Great Alaska ShakeOut Promotes Earthquake Preparedness

Nearly 50,000 Alaskans registered for an earthquake preparedness event today called the Great Alaskan ShakeOut.

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The state’s spokesman for the division of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Jeremy Zidek says it’s good that a large number of Alaskans registered to practice the drill.

ShakeOut_Alaska_2013_Poster“The recommended action is to drop down to the ground, find some sturdy cover and hold on to that cover so you don’t bounce away or the cover doesn’t bounce away,” Zidek said.

People who signed up were instructed to practice the drill at exactly 10:17 this morning. Sort of like a flash mob for disaster preparedness, millions of people registered for similar events today across the world.

Zidek says because Alaska has experienced three of the six largest earthquakes ever recorded, it’s good for Alaskans to be ready for the next major event.

He says another shakeout drill is scheduled for the 50th anniversary of the 9.2 Good Friday earthquake that shook for nearly five minutes on March 27, 1964.

“Often when we talk to 1964 earthquake survivors, it’s a real changing point in their lives,” Zidek said. “We’re very susceptible to earthquakes here, it’s good for people to prepare and know what to do when they hit.”

Zidek says developing a family plan for how to handle a seismic disaster and the aftermath is important.

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 18 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications with veteran Alaskan broadcasters Nellie Moore, D’Anne Hamilton, Len Anderson, Sharon McConnell and Veronica Iya. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori