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FEMA Activates to Support Alaska in Wake of Major Earthquake

Release date: 
December 1, 2018
Release Number: 

 Three men in talking. Caption reads Alaska State Liaison Officer
(left to right) FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Willie Nunn, Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Mike Sutton and FEMA Alaska State Liaison Officer Robert Forgit discuss the response and recovery from the earthquake which occurred on November 30, 2018.

BOTHELL, Wash. – FEMA staff from around the country mobilized Friday in response to the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck near Anchorage. The FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center in Bothell, Wash., is fully activated and is coordinating with FEMA headquarters to support our Alaska state, local and tribal partners.


Additionally, FEMA’s Alaska Area Office staff in Anchorage deployed to the State Emergency Operation Center to provide initial coordination. The FEMA Region 10 Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) has deployed to the affected areas to support state, tribal and local requests for assistance.


President Donald J. Trump on Friday approved the governor’s request for an immediate Emergency Declaration to supplement state, tribal and local efforts to respond to emergency conditions in the areas affected by the earthquake. The designated areas under the Emergency Declaration are the Municipality of Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula Borough and Matanuska-Susitna Borough.


FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance under the Public Assistance program, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding. 


Willie G. Nunn has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal response operations in the affected area. He arrived in Anchorage late Friday to oversee FEMA’s coordination of federal response efforts. Also in Anchorage are FEMA Region 10 Administrator Mike O’Hare as well as FEMA Deputy Administrator Peter Gaynor.


“Alaskans are resilient people. They know that earthquakes can happen at any time and they are prepared,” said O’Hare. “FEMA staff on the ground and those we have mobilized to assist all stand ready to support the state, tribes and villages that have been affected by this earthquake.”


FEMA tips for residents after an earthquake:

  • Residents in the affected areas should follow the directions of state, local and tribal officials.
  • Expect aftershocks. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake.
  • During an earthquake, “Drop, Cover and Hold On” is the recommended safety action over utilizing doorways. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place, and if you are indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe.
  • People with mobility disabilities who cannot drop, should still cover and hold on. People who use wheelchairs should lock the wheels and try not to transfer during an earthquake. Simply stay where you are and cover your head and neck with your arms.
  • Document your damages. Take photos or video of losses, contact your insurance company, and begin cleaning up and making repairs. Be ready to report your damages if asked. 
  • If you must drive, call 511 or visit or for updated information on road closures and damages.
  • If you smell gas, your gas can be turned off at the main gas service shutoff valve. Do not shut off the gas unless you smell gas, hear gas escaping, see a broken gas line or suspect a gas leak. If you shut off the gas, there may be a considerable delay before your provider can turn your service back on. Make sure you have functional carbon monoxide detectors. 
  • If you are running a portable generator to help provide heat, ensure there’s a working carbon monoxide detector in your home. Keep generators outside at least 20 feet away from doors, windows and vents to avoid accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Never use a generator, camp stove, charcoal grill, gasoline or propane heater inside your home.



FEMA's mission is to help people before, during, and after disasters.


Last Updated: 
December 1, 2018 - 19:08