Is Alaska ready for its next health emergency?

Are you ready for health or natural disaster emergencies that could occur in severe weather? (Photo courtesy


Alaska experienced a 7.0 earthquake on November 30, underscoring the wisdom of being prepared. In that spirit, we air this program recorded in September 2018, before that quake.

News coverage of natural and health emergencies over the past several years has been consistent and sobering: flooding in the Carolinas this fall, thanks to Hurricane Florence; the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, with waves cresting at 133 feet; Hurricane Katrina in 2005 spread disaster over 400 miles. The list can go on, and the human and infrastructure tolls are devastating.

The point is, Alaska—as almost any point on the globe—is equally vulnerable. We have only the 1964 earthquake, the 1918 Spanish Influenza, and our melting permafrost and crumbling coastline, to know this. In addition, global travel means that an illness on another continent could land in Anchorage in just 10 hours. Did we mention cyber security?

Hometown Alaska has committed to a two-part presentation of how to be prepared for a health emergency, be it man-made or natural. Today’s show, Part One, looks at how the State of Alaska keeps itself, including its public and private partners, ready to respond.

On the following show, Part Two, we will emphasize individual responsibility to be prepared. How do you get ready to “shelter in place?” How long are you expected to be able to do this?

Your questions and comments are welcome throughout the show. Please participate, and be ready.

HOSTKathleen McCoy


  • Sondra Leclair, emergency program manager, preparedness, DHSS, Div of Public Health
  • Charles Pelton, DPH emergency programs, education & outreach
  • Sean Murphy, chair, joint medical emergency preparedness group (JMEPG)



  • Send e-mail to before, during or after the live broadcast (e-mails may be read on air)
  • Post your comment or question below (comments may be read on air)
  • LIVE: Monday, September 24, 2018 at 2:00 p.m.
  • REPEAT: Monday, April 1, 2019 at 8:00 p.m.

Ammon Swenson is Alaska Public Media’s Audio Media Content Producer. He was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. He graduated from UAA in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and integrated media. He’s previously worked for KRUA radio, the Anchorage Press, and The Northern Light.

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