"On Good Friday, March 27, 1964, the Alaska earthquake occurred which was probably the largest or equal to the largest earthquake that has ever been recorded," Dr. Karl Bowman writes. "Those of us living in Anchorage were quickly isolated, and, since the badly damaged part of the city was roped off and no one allowed inside of it, and since I was completely occupied with things at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute, I have very little firsthand information about some of the early days of the earthquake except in this one special site."
The occurrence of a severe earthquake beneath the bottom of Prince William Sound at approximately 5:37 P.M. on 3/27/64 provided severe shock waves to the entire southcentral portion of Alaska for a period of approximately eight minutes. The shocks were felt with considerable severity in the city of Seward and resulted immediately in rupture of certain oil tanks or lines at the Standard Oil storage installation there, with spreading of oil fires within the tank farm and along the surface of the sea at shoreline and along the Alaska Railroad tracks through a series of tank cars to a Texaco tank farm approximately one-half mile distant.
A large-scale disaster exercise was conducted to assess how one large community would handle such a situation - particularly, how it would deal with 150 casualties. The planning, undertaken by a subcommittee composed of representatives of all resource groups in the city, took more than a year. The deficiencies of the disaster plan detected during the exercise, which included a lack of trained personnel and various problems of communication, are now being corrected.
Cites: Hospitals. 1970 Mar 1;44(5):40-2 passim5414575