How often do you think about Mount Rainier erupting?
The Washington Emergency Management Division has a survey out to Pierce County residents, to gauge local awareness regarding volcano safety, evacuation routes, and general knowledge.
“Mount Rainier is an active volcano that poses a risk to several communities located around its base,” the survey’s introduction reads. “This questionnaire aims to help improve community safety by giving us a better understanding of changes in how residents see the risk, and how they plan to respond in the event of a lahar warning.”
The questionnaire was last issued in 2006, and covers everything from basic questions related to lahars — volcanic flows of mud and ash — to whether or not residents believe they have adequate evacuation services in the immediate area.
One particularly odd question asks respondents to rate how often they think, and talk, about lahars on a scale that runs from “never” to “once a week or more.”
That all being said, living in the shadow of active volcano like Mt. Rainier does come with its fair share of danger.
“Ideally, every resident in the valleys around Mount Rainier should know whether they live, work, or go to school in a hazard zone, and have knowledge of evacuation route and plans for living away from home,” USGS’s Carolyn Driedger said in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session in May.
The biggest risks to the area would likely be posed by major landslides that could escalate into volcanic mudflow, likely hitting both Orting and Puyallup, among other areas.
Puyallup Valley already has systems in place for detection and notification in the event of an eruption, signage for evacuation routes, and regular volcano drills in schools.