Spokane County WA Emergency Management Homepage

Hazards We Face

In the Inland Northwest, we are pretty fortunate--we do not to get dramatic disasters, such as hurricanes and major earthquakes; however, we do have our share of emergencies/disasters as listed below. In all cases, they are unpredictable so thinking about their potential and how each person or household can maintain a level of preparedness becomes very important.

History of local emergencies and disasters:

  • Droughts: 1977 and 2005
  • Earthquakes: every year there are from 6-12 earthquakes throughout the Inland Northwest. Many are low magnitudes: 1.6-2.3, but there have been a few larger magnitude quakes:
    • Coulee Dam: 4.3 magnitude,
  • Floods: 1963, 1986, 1996, 2008 and 2017
  • Home Fires (most common): every year many people have died due to fires in their homes, and unfortunately, many of these could have been prevented if the residents had fully working smoke alarms
  • Ice Storm: 1996
  • Snow Storms (major): 1996, 2008-2009 and 2016
  • Volcano (Mt. Saint Helens): eruption in 1980. The region shut down for several days and store shelves were completely bare after a few days
  • Wildfires:
    • Hangman Hills, 1987
    • Fire Storm, 1991
    • Bowie Road,1996
    • Newkirk/Red Lake, 1997
    • Valley View Fire, July of 2008
    • Spokane Complex Fires, 2016
  • Wind storm: June of 2005 and November of 2015
NOTE: Power outages are often associated with one of the above incidents. They can last a short period of time or up to a couple of weeks. As one might imagine, the severity is usually greater during winter months when home heating and lighting are crucial.

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