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Red Cross Reflects on Earthquake Response, Prepares for Next Large Disaster

Nov 22, 2019 | News, Nonprofits

ANCHORAGE—The 7.1 magnitude earthquake that occurred on November 30, 2018 reminds us of the seriousness of where we live, the resiliency of our communities, and just how quickly we come together in times of crisis.

The Red Cross of Alaska was on the ground immediately following the earthquake, providing support to those in need. It attributed its success to the dedication of government and nonprofit partners, volunteerism, and donations.

“It’s hard to believe the big earthquake was a year ago,” said Red Cross of Alaska Regional Disaster Officer, Kelley McGuirk. “I’m proud of our swift response, and our team’s ability to get much needed assistance to residents with major damages to their homes so quickly. The earthquake was unprecedented and our team did a great job of following the training they have, but also being flexible to meet the needs of those affected.”

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Red Cross Response: By the Numbers

In the days, weeks, and months following the November 30 earthquake and ensuing aftershocks, the Red Cross:

  • Mobilized 144 Red Cross disaster workers from Alaska and the Lower 48 to assist those affected
  • Provided 230 overnight stays in Red Cross shelters in Anchorage, Eagle River, and Wasilla
  • Served more than 2,237 meals and snacks alongside nonprofit partners
  • Made nearly 350 individual care contacts to support residents’ first aid and mental health needs
  • Assessed damage in 680 homes affected by the earthquake using the Red Cross Collect app
  • Opened 161 cases and provided immediate financial assistance to more than 494 residents who suffered major earthquake damage through the Red Cross recovery casework process


Preparing for the Next Earthquake

The anniversary of the 7.1 earthquake also serves as a reminder of the importance of being ready when disaster strikes. Although this major earthquake is now nearly a year ago, the Red Cross of Alaska reminded Alaskans to be prepared for the next big one. According to the Alaska Earthquake Center and the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Alaska is the most seismically active state in the country, and three of the seven largest earthquakes in the twentieth century have taken place here. The Red Cross offers some tips to ensure preparedness when the ground shakes beneath us again:


  • Talk about earthquakes with your family so that everyone knows what to do long before an earthquake strikes. Discussing ahead of time helps reduce fear, particularly for younger
  • Check your workplace and your children’s schools and day care centers to learn about their earthquake emergency
  • Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture like a large table, or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases, or tall furniture that could fall on
  • Practice “drop, cover and hold on” in each safe
  • Make sure you have access to local weather radio broadcasts and download the free Red Cross Emergency App from your mobile phone app
  • Prepare your family’s emergency kit and store it in an easy-to-carry container. Include items like a gallon of water per person, per day; non-perishable food; a flashlight and hand-crank or battery- powered radio; extra batteries; sanitation and personal hygiene items; copies of important documents; extra cash; and any medical or baby supplies family members may need.

What You Can Do

VOLUNTEER: Within hours of the November 30 earthquake, Red Cross volunteer disaster workers had fanned out across the affected areas, offering comfort, shelter, relief supplies, and warm meals to those affected by the initial earthquake and the aftershocks that followed. Volunteers like these comprise more than 90 percent of the Red Cross workforce, representing every age, gender, religion, race, and ethnicity. Those that would like to join the Red Cross can visit redcross.org/volunteer and click on “Apply Now” to fill out a volunteer application and get started.

DOWNLOAD: The American Red Cross Emergency App can help keep you and your loved ones safe by putting vital information in your hands for more than thirty-five different severe weather and emergency alerts. Download the free app by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your mobile phone app store, texting GETEMERGENCY to 90999, or by visiting redcross.org/apps.

DONATE: The Red Cross responds to more than 62,000 disasters every year, including home fires and major disasters like earthquakes and wildfires. You can help people affected by countless crises by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters big and small. You can visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Alaska Business Magazine April 2021 Cover

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The Corporate 100

April 2021

Alaska Business has been celebrating the corporations that have a significant impact on Alaska’s economy since 1993. At the time, the corporations weren’t ranked as the list didn’t have specific ranking criteria. Instead, the Alaska Business editorial team held long, detailed, and occasionally passionate discussions about which organizations around the state were providing jobs, owned or leased property, used local vendors, demonstrated a high level of community engagement, and in general enriched Alaska.

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