FEMA's Federal Preparedness Coordinator for the Pacific Northwest says there are 4 things that make it tough for assistance to get to families after our next major earthquake in the PNW:
POWER / WATER OUTAGES - any earthquake-risk region must plan for significant time without power and running water. Major infrastructure will be damaged after a major quake, and it will take quite a while to get crews and supplies to all problem areas, especially with regional fuel shortages.
SCALE - Zaffram, who has spent his career on the ground responding to major hurricanes, says that the impact on Seattle's citizens and infrastructure will be "enormous" and "much larger and complicated than any hurricane response we've seen."
GEOGRAPHY - Our region is filled with logistical challenges due to our beautiful (but complicated) geography. Bridges are the hardest hit in an earthquake - that will make transportation extremely difficult.
RESPONDERS IMPACTED - the folks we hope will be there for us will also be impacted. Emergency responders will need to tend to their loved ones first. They'll also be impacted by the same transportation and logistical challenges the rest of us will face.