September 3, 2019
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Underground tremors, new models highlight earthquake prep

There’s no time like today to prepare for a big earthquake or other natural disasters. This message was highlighted recently as new information about a potential 9.0 magnitude earthquake made the news last week.

First, more than 4,500 tremors have been detected deep beneath the Olympic Peninsula and southern Vancouver Island, KUOW radio reports.

It’s not clear if those tremors are a warning sign of something bigger, or just business as usual 25 to 40 kilometers below the earth’s surface.

"There could be a heightened chance that that would be adding stress to the part of the plate we actually worry about, which is the 'locked zone' or the seismogenic zone, for the big earthquake," Harold Tobin of the University of Washington said. "But the fact is the jury is very much out on that. That is a hypothesis, but we don't know.

"We have never observed an episodic tremor and slip event triggering a major earthquake in our region and really we've only seen possible shaky evidence toward that in other parts of the world," Tobin continued. "It's an area of active interest, but it's not necessarily something we know is changing the stress on our fault at all."

In other news, the state Department of Natural Resources has released a series of new videos that show computer simulations of how the Puget Sound would be impacted after a major earthquake and tsunami.

Ten-foot waves would hit the coastline within 35 minutes, and then move through the Puget Sound, MYNorthwest news reports.

In Southwest Washington, The Reflector newspaper of Battle Ground took a detailed look at what a big earthquake would really mean for the region.

The article features recommend supplies, strategies and interviews with local emergency preparedness officials who are working to create an “earthquake culture.”



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Employers need to prepare for new noncompete laws

By Tim O'Connell of Stoel Rives

During the last legislative session, Washington took significant steps to limit noncompetition agreements for employees in the state and prohibit employer policies that ban moonlighting, impacting not only an important part of many local companies' strategies to protect their market position, but also employee loyalty.

The new state statute regarding noncompetition agreements and moonlighting policies demands attention from Washington employers...

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, employers that utilize noncompetition agreements need to carefully evaluate whether those agreements will meet the new state standards. If not, employers should revoke or revise those agreements prior to the effective date...

Properly structured noncompetition agreements and properly based policies regarding moonlighting are valid. Employers must, however, address these new limitations, sooner rather than later.

Read the full column in The Puget Sound Business Journal