Food & Culture

Your Seattle-Specific Earthquake Kit: Bourbon, Chocolate and Other Necessities

Quick tips you might not have thought of for surviving the Pacific Northwest’s dreaded natural disaster

By Seattle Magazine Staff October 17, 2018


This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of Seattle Magazine.

This article appears in print in the October 2018 issue. Click here to subscribe.

Living in Seattle certainly has its advantages—breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, zero income tax, nearby wineries. Not so great: living in a region subject to earthquakes. The October 18 Great Washington ShakeOut can help you prepare, with advice on how to drill for a quake, what to put in your earthquake kit and more. We also have a few tips for you.

1. Don’t Overthink It. If you haven’t read it, don’t even think about peeking at that New Yorker article (subtitled “An earthquake will destroy a sizeable portion of the coastal Northwest. The question is when”). If you have, well, think of your happy place and visit it often.

2. Pack the Snacks! In that earthquake survival kit, with its three-day supply of nonperishable food (experts recommend peanut butter, canned and dried foods), be sure to have food you actually want to eat. Don’t forget to throw in your favorite Theo chocolate bar (or 10).

3. Prepare to Party. If New Orleans can throw “hurricane parties” around its natural disasters, we think the same logic applies to quake country. Just be sure to put that bourbon in a plastic jug!

4. Rethink Where you Work. You may want to reconsider that employment offer in SoDo—the area that scientists say is the most likely to “liquify” (picture quicksand) during a big quake.

5. Reinforce the Ramparts. You really, really love your vintage 1920 brick house? OK then, put the number of an engineering firm on speed dial and keep calling until you get someone to come out and check to see if that house is reinforced with rebar. Brick (and concrete) homes that aren’t bolstered are likely to crumble.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated since print publication.

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