Anniversary of the 1964 earthquake: A day to reflect on preparedness
March 27, 2018

Lea Gardine

Every year at this time, I take a few moments to reflect on the March 27, 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake and tsunamis. The earthquake struck at 5:36 in the evening on Good Friday, when most people were at home with their families. Violent shaking lasted for about five minutes. Together, the earthquake and the tsunamis it generated killed 139 people and changed Alaska forever. 

The magnitude 9.2 earthquake remains the second largest earthquake ever recorded instrumentally, worldwide.

Anniversaries of natural disasters give us yearly opportunities to reflect on our own preparedness--to identify the greatest hazards to ourselves, our family and our property. Small steps like a personal preparedness assessment and an emergency plan or checklist can make a real difference during and after a natural disaster.

As an earthquake scientist in Alaska, I am constantly reminded of the threats we face. I have invested time and energy in my family plan, but always use March 27 as a reminder to refresh my emergency plans and to check supply levels and expiration dates on my emergency kit at home.

Whether you are revisiting your plans or starting from the beginning, you can read more on our preparedness page about how to assess your risk, how to act during an earthquake, and how to protect yourself from losses.

The Alaska Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has a helpful 7-day emergency kit guide here.

Cover of the updated "Are you prepared for the next big earthquake in Alaska?" pamplet available here