Safe and Sound: Earthquake Spares Alaska Wildlife Response Center

Our Alaska Wildlife Response Center (AWRC) in Anchorage was mainly unharmed by 7.0 earthquake that struck November 30, 2018. (Photos by Michelle Bellizzi/International Bird Rescue)

Last week’s 7.0 earthquake in Alaska is a reminder for all of us to be as prepared as we can be for any emergency.

Broken glass on a framed poster.

While the city of Anchorage was waking up on the dark, frosty morning of Friday, November 30th, the area experienced a major quake that hit at around 8:30 AM. The epicenter was just 10 miles outside the city center and it was immediately apparent that this was a major event causing significant infrastructure damage to the area and impacting the population of the largest city in the state. (CNN report)

After checking in with our families, friends, responders and clients in the area to make sure they were safe, we were able to dispatch a team member to assess the Alaska Wildlife Response Center (AWRC) building. Our staff member Michelle Bellizzi arrived on-site on Monday and discovered very minor damage. Some photos had fallen off walls and there were some cracks in the walls. Overall the center is in good shape.

We are thankful and relieved that our friends and clients in Alaska are all safe at this point, and we’ve let them know we’re standing by in case of need. The Alaska Pipeline was briefly shut down as well to assess for any damage. It was declared safe and is now back in operation. We have received word that the marine terminals in Valdez are without any major damage as well.

Significant road damage: The Minnesota Dr. airport off-ramp buckled by the quake in Anchorage. (Photo: Nat Herz/AED)

While this was a major earthquake event, we are proud to be a small part of Alaska’s emergency response plan. Our hats are off to the incredible resiliency and can-do attitude that is the essence of our Alaskan neighbors.

This natural disaster is a good reminder for all of us to be prepared in an emergency:

• Have an emergency kit with enough water for 3 days, sturdy shoes, and warm clothes for each member of your household.

• Know where shut-off valves are for gas, water, and electricity in your home and office, and know how to shut off utilities if you are able.

• Keep cell phones charged, and have an emergency contact outside of your area that can make calls/coordinate support for you and yours from off-site.

• Have a pre-identified muster spot for far-flung family members to regroup.

Keep safe out there, because the birds need you!

Inside the Alaska Wildlife Response Center (AWRC) post-earthquake.