The Great Shake Out 2020
The Caribbean region is at risk to a variety of natural disasters, from hurricanes to tsunamis to severe droughts and heat waves. However, there is one natural disaster that is often overlooked in preparedness conversations, yet has the potential to be the most catastrophic.
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are located at an active plate boundary between the North American plate and the northeast corner of the Caribbean plate. Plate movements have caused large magnitude earthquakes and devastating tsunamis over the years, and this has certainly been the case in 2020.
Throughout January 2020, Puerto Rico was barraged by a swarm of quakes, 11 of which were a magnitude of 5 or greater. The resulting loss of life, devastation to infrastructure, and long term economic impacts cannot be overstated.
As with any natural disaster, the work of community organizations to prepare and respond must also be augmented by citizen preparedness. After all, the more prepared that the average individual is, the more time that community organizations can spend helping those disaster survivors who need it the most.
To that end, this year we encourage everyone to participate in the International Great Shake Out event (www.ShakeOut.org) this week on Thursday, October 15th!
Participation in this event can be as involved as visiting their website, registering, and uploading a video of you and your loved ones performing an earthquake safety drill; or as simple as making the time to talk about earthquake preparedness with those in your household. The important thing is recognizing that earthquakes pose a serious threat, and incorporating preparedness for earthquakes into your regular readiness activities as a household or business.
Even if you do not participate in the Great Shake Out itself, take the time to learn about earthquakes, consider what effects they may have on your surroundings, and make a plan to keep yourself safe both during and after a quake. As with any natural disaster, the only “right time” to prepare is as soon and as often as possible!