What would magnitude 7 quake do to Seattle?
SEATTLE — The quake in Mexico City wasn’t the only large-scale seismic activity around the world Tuesday.
A 6.1 magnitude quake also rocked part of New Zealand Tuesday night.
It’s just another reminder that a large-scale quake can happen anytime, especially around the Puget Sound.
But what would a quake like that mean for Seattle?
Every year the Puget Sound experiences hundreds of small quakes, usually under 2.0 in magnitude.
But with the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the Seattle Fault and the South Whidbey Island Fault -- many scientists say we're overdue for a quake like the one seen in Mexico Tuesday.
We saw it 16 years ago when the 6.8 Nisqually quake rocked the Puget Sound from Olympia to Everett.
But earthquakes are natural disasters you can and should prepare for.
“There's a sense of neighbor help neighbor,” says Dr. Eileen Bulger, chief of trauma at Harborview Medical Center. “In a disaster situation when emergency services are overwhelmed and 911 is overwhelmed, your neighbor is who's going to help you.”
Bulger is trying to speak realistically about the realities that can happen. Part of why she says the “Stop the Bleed” campaign has taken off.
The national campaign aims to educate the public on how bystanders can stop bleeding to save lives in the event of mass shootings and natural disasters like earthquakes.
“You have to anticipate that in a disaster situation you might be completely on your own for at least 72-hours and some cases up to two weeks depending on the scope of the disaster,” said Bulger who also adds that bleeding is the leading cause of preventable death after injury.
That’s one of the reasons why UW Medicine Harborview Medical Center is offering classes on how to properly stop bleeding using a tourniquet.
“A tourniquet that's not tight enough can actually make bleeding worse,” Bulger explained. “Because it increases the venous bleeding. It doesn't stop the arterial bleeding.”
But when "The Big One" does strike, Washington Emergency Management projections show the damage would be catastrophic.
According to 2012 modeling of a 7.2 magnitude quake on the Seattle Fault Zone , a similar sized quake – a 7.2 magnitude, at 2 p.m. -- would likely result in nearly 17,677 total injuries if the quake were to occur midday. That's roughly 200 more people than the capacity inside the KeyArena.
In Seattle, a 7.2 magniture quake could displace over 31,000 families and nearly 400,00 people would be without potable water on the first day.
And how's this for perspective?
That same 7.2 magnitude quake could generate nearly 297,000 truckloads of debris – which is roughly the weight of 757 Space Needles.
Medical professionals believe an emergency kit or CPR are no longer enough.
That’s part of the reason why the Harborview is hosting the free “Stop the Bleed” classes to recognize life-threatening bleeding and how to stop it with effective tourniquets.
You can enroll at stopthebleedwa.org.