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Disasters and Accidents

What The New Yorker Article Did For Earthquake Prep Sales

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FEMA
File photo. A 9.0 magnitude earthquake could hit the Pacific Northwest in the next 50 years.

Pacific Northwest businesses have noticed an uptick in earthquake preparation sales and inquiries since the New Yorker wrote about an expected 9.0 magnitude earthquake.

Many who live in Oregon and Washington have known for years about “the big one,” the record-breaking earthquake expected to devastate the region within decades. But since the article, they’ve started to prepare.

Steve Gemmell owns Earthquake Tech, a Portland company that does seismic upgrades, mostly for homes.

“We’re pretty slammed,” he said.

Gemmell said people have been calling since the 2011 earthquake in Japan, but now, they’re hiring his company.

“A lot of people who have been thinking about doing this for years are calling us back,” he said.

Big red letters on Earthquake Tech’s website warn: “A massive earthquake is predicted in the next 50 years.”

American Red Cross has taken a similar approach. An email to donors reminds the “region will suffer the worst natural disaster in the history of North America."

A spokesperson said they’ve had many more requests for earthquake preparedness seminars in recent weeks.

Stores say they’ve noticed more people coming in for supplies, but most declined to talk about exact numbers.