Great article on the upcoming big earthquake - maybe more people will get amateur radio licenses. From Seattle station KNKX:
Northwest States Write Up Wake Up Call For 'The Big One'
The report cards are in and it's not pretty if you worry about how you'll fare after a Magnitude 9 Cascadia megaquake and tsunami. Washington and Oregon's emergency management divisions have now published after-action reviews of last June's multi-state disaster drill called Cascadia Rising .
The four-day simulation was the largest earthquake and tsunami exercise Northwest states have ever staged -- more than 20,000 people participated. The upshot in one sentence is that governments at all levels are ill prepared and ill equipped for The Big One.
Oregon Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps said a high priority for him is to improve communication capacity for when telephones and the internet are down.
"We're looking at amateur radio as a way to increase our alternate methods of communication and then seeing what else is out there,” he said.
Washington's Emergency Management Division also noted a need for professionals and volunteer radio operators to practice together more. Phelps said you may help your own cause and your neighborhood's by qualifying for an amateur radio license -- also known as ham radio.
Another issue identified for priority attention was how to receive and distribute emergency relief supplies coming from outside the disaster zone. During last June's exercise, the process of requesting and organizing vital outside aid quickly broke down.
We are due - the last quake was in 1700 and the geological record shows that they happen every 300-500 years. Phone lines will be down. Cell will remain up for as long as their emergency power is available (about three days) but the system will be horribly overloaded. Amateur Radio is the way to go - the test takes rote memorization, about four weeks of casual study (two or three hours, three or four times/week) and you get get a decent setup for under $100.