Kitsap County is at risk for earthquakes due to its location in the Puget Sound region. Our area has several faults that can cause earthquakes. What does this mean? Damage to bridges and marine infrastructure may isolate Kitsap County from the rest of the Puget Sound after a major quake. Medical supplies, food, water, shelter, and other resources could become hard to get. A major earthquake will impact areas to the east and west of Kitsap County, too. Aid will go to more populated areas of the state before it reaches here. Based on a recent assessment of Kitsap County, earthquakes are rated a high risk hazard.

What impact will earthquakes have in Kitsap County?

The effects of a major earthquake in Kitsap County could be catastrophic. Hundreds of residents could be injured or killed, and many left homeless. Depending on the time of day and year, a major earthquake could cause hundreds of injuries and deaths. Millions of dollars in infrastructure and private property damage are possible. A major earthquake could damage older buildings, especially those made of non-reinforced masonry. Newer structures, built with more recent building codes, would sustain less damage. But, these would remain vulnerable to the soil conditions of the building site. Expect to see severe damage to county and city utilities. 

Movement of the ground in an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of injury or death. Most casualties result from falling materials. Other effects from a major earthquake include, but are not limited to:

  • Broken water and sewer mains 
  • Downed electric lines 
  • Downed or damaged bridges 
  • Cracked and partially displaced roadbeds and rail lines 
  • Loss of telephone or other telecommunications services 
  • Houses knocked off their foundations 
  • Partial or complete collapse of buildings, building facades, cornices, or chimneys 
  • Fires including urban conflagration 
  • Chemical spills 
  • Ruptured gas and oil pipelines 
  • Riverbeds disrupted 
  • Broken or cracked dams with possible flooding 
  • Injury and death 
  • Psychological trauma 
  • Economic disruption
  • Large numbers of displaced persons

How will the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management (KCDEM) address major earthquakes?

  • Educational workshops on foundation bolting, tie downs, and necessary bracing actions. These will help residents retrofit their homes. Find an upcoming class here.
  • Developing a three-mile recreation trail from Jarstad Park to the Kitsap Lake area. 
  • Developing a plan to address gaps in the transportation network. 
  • Utilizing personal watercraft, animals, and off-road vehicles to move passengers and freight.
  • Signing out-of-county Mutual Aid agreements to secure needed resources. Establishing local contracts to use available resources within the county.
  • Planning logistical, staffing, and volunteer efforts. This includes the Community Points of Distribution program.

Want to learn more about earthquakes and county mitigation efforts? Open the 2019 Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan (PDF). Earthquake information begins on page 67. You can also contact KCDEM via email.

KCDEM is active in planning to address a potential Cascadia subduction zone earthquake.  Learn more about Cascadia Rising 2022.  

USGS Earthquake Data

United States Geological Survey map for Kitsap County, WA. Click map for earthquakes reported in the last 30 days.

Why Volunteer?

November 16, 2021|

A survey was recently sent to our volunteers asking them why they find it rewarding to donate their time. Some of their comments are below. [...]

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