Search results for: 'earthquakes'

  • 140806093251-01-china-quake-0806-horizontal-gallery

    Earthquake damage in Southwest China, August 2014, Photo Courtesy of CNN.com

     

    On Sunday, August 3rd, China’s Yunnan province saw the most devastating earthquake since 1970. According to the US Geological Survey, a 6.1 (China’s own equipment is calling it a 6.5) earthquake was recorded at 4:30pm in the agricultural region known as Ludian. On August 7th, AP reported about 615 known fatalities and 3,143 injured, though those numbers may continue to  increase as first responders progress through the rubble.

    Particularly disastrous in this case is the age and instability of the brick structures prevalent in the region. One volunteer quoted by the Huffington Post estimates that about half the buildings in the area have collapsed completely, with countless more damaged and uninhabitable, resulting in an evacuee count of almost 30,000. To make matters worse, power and communications have been wiped out, and rainstorms are hampering rescue efforts and the distribution of relief supplies.

    We’re keeping an eye on this and will report in the future on possible ways to help. In the meantime, the hard lesson for the rest of us has to do with broad spectrum preparation. Knowing what to do in the event of an earthquake is an important first step, but just as important is having a protected stock of supplies, an alternate means of communication, and the know-how to survive when the grid is down.

    Our article, “How to Prepare for an Earthquake,” contains several links to other useful lists, posts, and resources that teach everything from what to put in an earthquake emergency kit to what to do before, during, and after a quake. And as a supplement to those, “Earthquakes and Your Mental Health” emphasizes the role of preparation in the management of stress and trauma.

     

    Keep China in your thoughts and prayers, and make sure your home and family are prepared for the big one!

     

    -Stacey

     

    Sources

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/04/china-earthquake_n_5646867.html

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20140807/as--china-earthquake/?utm_hp_ref=world&ir=world

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/06/world/asia/china-earthquake-deaths/

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: natural disaster, Earthquake, Earthquakes

  • 30 High-Tech Ways to Survive any Disaster

    I can always count on Popular Mechanics when I need my mind blown on a weekday afternoon. And how can you go wrong with a headline like “30 Ways to Survive Absolutely Any Disaster”? Sure enough, PM has come up with 30 of the most recent—and most awesome—tech innovations to revolutionize disaster preparedness on an individual, national, and global level. I defy Mother Nature to get past all 30 of these!

    Author Sarah Fecht divides the list into four categories, involving areas of prediction, protection, response, and personal preparedness. Definitely read the article (at four pages, you’ll be in full emergency prep geek-out mode), but here’s a quick tour.

    Prediction – The newest and coolest early warning systems use  established technology in new places (seismometers and accelerometers in the ocean, for example);fancy-pants newer technology (GPS, sensors, drones) to detect flash flooding; and a particularly thrilling combination of new and old technology: underwater drones! (I’m not lying!). And between them, experts can give us ample lead time on earthquakes, flooding, volcanic eruptions, storm surge, tornadoes, tsunamis, and even asteroids. ‘Cause if the Earth is about to be pummeled by pick-up sized space rocks, I need time to pack.

    Protection – Companies have been working for generations on bigger and better barriers against the elements, and current technology has taken the effort miles forward. My favorite innovations, however, build protection right into the infrastructure, making things like streets, buildings, and power lines more absorptive, flexible, and resistant.

    Response – In an effort to get the right people to the right place at the crucial time, researchers are pulling out all the innovative stops. In particular, first responders now have the aid of solar, microwave, drone, cell network, radio, and medical technology. They can even use  sensors to detect a human heartbeat under 30 feet of rubble and a tiny, injectable, antimicrobial sponge to stop bleeding.

    Personal – The most immediate and most basic needs of disaster victims have not changed with the times. We still need shelter, water, food, and life-saving information. Under this heading, PM’s article mostly reports cool new gadgets that do what the old ones did, only faster and better—a water purifier that works in 15 seconds, for example, or a solar generator that will run your fridge for a full 24 hours. The standout here is the Survival Capsule, a former Boeing engineer’s response to the 2011 tsunami that battered Japan. Think Life Cube or the All-In-Four Emergency Supply plus Noah’s ark, all in miniature and with seatbelts.

    I don’t know about you, but I love seeing all this energetic innovation going toward making us safer in a crisis. I’m not going to stop storing wheat and Band-Aids, but if there’s an app for emergency prep, you better believe I’m going to download it!

     

    What are your favorite high-tech preparedness solutions?

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: disaster, technology, survival technology, disaster technology

  • Earthquake Chile

    Lately we’ve heard a lot about earthquakes in the news—and this one’s got to be the biggest one yet because it didn’t just cause the ground to shake. Did you know that powerful earthquakes often cause other natural disasters?

    On Tuesday, April 1st, an 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northern Chile. According to CNN’s article, “Powerful Earthquake Strikes off Chile Triggers Tsunami” this quake caused small landslides and power outages across Northern Chile. Tsunami-like waves were even generated during the quake, but thankfully, a full fledge tsunami did not hit the shore. The U.S. National Geological Survey evaluated the span and depth of the earthquake. It had a depth of 12.5 miles and coastal residents were asked to evacuate the area.

    The most interesting part (in a preparedness standpoint) of CNN’s article came in a quote by Fabrizio Guzman, Chile’s World Vision emergency communications manager. He said that “many people are fearful after experiencing the powerful earthquake in 2010, so they immediately fled for higher ground when they heard the tsunami warning.”

    We can learn from the example of the residents of this country. The citizens of northern Chile learned a valuable lesson from the 2010 earthquake that helped many survive when they heard the tsunami warning issued this time around. Once they heard the warning, they immediately left their homes.

    Would you be able to do the same if you had to evacuate in an emergency? Would you be prepared with an emergency kit and supplies to help you until you could return to your home? I know it’s hard to leave all of your possessions and a home you’ve worked hard to earn, but if you had to leave, would you be able to do it to save yourself and your family?

    To learn more about the recent earthquake in Chile, check out CNN’s article, “Powerful Earthquake Strikes off Chile, Triggers Tsunami.” And to learn more about earthquake and tsunami preparedness, check out these articles:

    "Tsunami-like Waves Hit New Jersey"

    "Preparing for Earthquakes

    "What to do after an Earthquake

    "Evacuating Home in an Emergency"

     -Angela

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • Tokyo's Morning "Quake-up" Call

    Tokyo awoke to an early-morning quake on Monday, May 12th.

    According to The New York Times, “NHK [the national broadcasting station] said it was the strongest quake felt in Tokyo since the aftershocks of a magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 off the northeastern coast.”

    Read the full New York Times article.

     

    If you’re not quite earthquake-ready, you can prepare for an earthquake with these resources:

    Quake, Rattle, and Roll: Easy steps to take before the big one hits

    Quake, Rattle, and Roll: What to do during an earthquake

    Quake, Rattle, and Roll: What to do after an earthquake

    Earthquakes and your Mental Health

    Free Disaster Guide, Part 1: When Disaster Hits Home

    Free Disaster Guide, Part 2: Are You Ready?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: natural disaster, Earthquake

  • Severe Flooding Follows Tornadoes in the Southeast

    Natural disasters can sometimes cause a domino effect of other disasters: an earthquake can cause a long-term power outage, a drought can cause a wildfire, and the high-speed winds of a tornado can quickly turn into a raging flood.

    Many in the Southeast are learning that one storm can cause another as the tornadoes that sprawled across over a dozen states this week have not only left behind twisted cars and destroyed homes, but also brought on severe floods.

    Florida was one of hardest-hit states, where Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency after 20 inches of rain fell in 24 hours, killing at least one and leaving others stranded, according to Fox News

    “There’s a lot of water on the ground,” the governor said to Yahoo News. He also anticipates that more flash flooding is still a real threat.

    In some areas, flooding reached up to four feet, other locations flooded more. Across numerous states, floods trapped people in homes, vehicles, and other buildings. Yahoo News reports one elderly woman dying in Escambia County after being unable to escape as the high waters surrounded her vehicle.

    "We were rescuing people out of cars, out of ditches, out of homes," said Mitchell Sims, the emergency management director for Baldwin County. "We are still getting reports of people trapped."

    When preparing for an emergency, it’s common to overlook the fact that one disaster can trigger another. It’s important to prepare as well as you can for all types of disasters. Are you prepared for a tornado and a lightning storm? Do you have duct tape for your windows for a hurricane and sandbags for flooding? As you stock your supply, are you thinking of how to prepare for multiple disasters?

    As you work on your preparedness, check out the following Insight Articles for some helpful tips for staying safe in a variety of disasters:

    Have you ever been caught in a “secondary” disaster triggered by a first? What happened? Share your story and expertise in the comments

     

    --Kim

     

    Sources:

    http://www.foxnews.com/weather/2014/04/30/forecasters-downplay-tornado-predictions-as-storm-system-weakens-in-south/

    http://news.yahoo.com/u-tornadoes-kill-34-threaten-more-damage-south-043914845--sector.html

    Photo Courtesy of Fox News

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, natural disasters

  • If tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, or other natural disasters struck your hometown, would you be prepared to weather the rough days that follow until emergency response teams set up?

    Unfortunately, many people aren’t.

    A little while ago, we reported on an innovative idea of an inflatable shelter called the Life Cube. Responses to this survival shelter ranged from “awesome” to “too pricey”. After our initial article, we were interested in the background of the company and the idea of the Life Cube. We called up founders Michael Conner and Nick Pedersen to get additional details about this new way to survive in an emergency. We thought you might be interested in hearing what we found out.

    What is the Life Cube?

    Conner and Pedersen have created the Life Cube to ultimately provide relief within 24 hours to disaster victims.

    Life Cube

    The Life Cube inflates into a 12 ft. x 12 ft. “home” fully stocked with food, water, power, a means of communication, and furniture for a family of five to survive for 72 hours. Once set up, the Life Cube is weather-resistant against 40 mph winds without external tie downs, and against 55 mph winds with external tie downs. It can also withstand heavy snow loads—10 lbs. per square inch.

    And this fully stocked survival shelter only takes about 10-20 minutes to set up. If you’re really fast, it could take you as little as five.

    Check out this video of Conner and Pedersen setting up the Life Cube:

    Life Cube LC12 5 Minute Deployment from Nick Pedersen on Vimeo.

    Why Would I Need the Life Cube?

    The first 72 hours can be the hardest to survive as response teams work to set up. “That’s the time you’re on your own. The Life Cube is to help you in that time,” said Pedersen. Take note, however, that it can take much longer than 72 hours for help and supplies to arrive—three days is a minimum.

    Pedersen recommends that although the Life Cube comes fully stocked, it’s never a bad idea to add extra preparedness supplies of your own. Life Cube, Inc. may add supplies such as the Yeti 1250 and premade food kits for five. But Pedersen’s suggestion of storing extra supplies extends beyond adding more preparedness gear to the Life Cube.

    If you or anyone in your family use medications, wear glasses, or have other specific needs, adding those items to your bug-out-bag will personalize your supplies and provide you with vital items for survival.

    What’s New?

    Over the past few years, Conner and Pedersen have been working to upgrade the quality of the Life Cube.

    Why you need a Life Cube...

    “This year,” Pedersen said, “We are introducing a new foam floor with a special coating to make the Life Cube lighter. It’ll be about the same price, but cold-weather temperate and even buoyant so it can float.”

    These Life Cubes have been designed to be airdropped anywhere on Earth, so even in the most remote locations, disaster victims won’t have to wait for relief. Although the Life Cube is not the end solution, it is a viable option to consider when thinking about disaster relief.

    So how did it all begin?

    The concept of the Life Cube started in 2005, the year of Hurricane Katrina and the Kashmir earthquake in Pakistan. The survivors of these disasters were dying because they couldn’t get the food, water, and equipment they needed to survive. Michael Conner knew something needed to be done; a few napkin sketches were drawn up and the Life Cube was born.

    Each Life Cube is premade for a particular use, according to Pedersen. They can each be configured to respond to issues ranging from Command and Control/Communications Security to Medical to Decontamination and more.

    As of now, everything about the Life Cube is Military spec. For consumer products, Pedersen and Conner are working on a “Life Cube Every Man” which works more like a tent. This Life Cube would have the same features as the military-grade one, but at a lower price ($5000-$6000 each rather than $9,000-$15,000).

    The Life Cube is just in its beginning stages, but Conner and Pedersen have big goals for the future.

    “Our ultimate goal is to build a cache of units [and] have inventories in strategic locations in the country—and eventually around the world—so we can deploy within 24 hours of a disaster. Having caches would help us deploy in hours instead of days,” said Pedersen.

    In the past, Life Cube, Inc. has deployed for FEMA, the military, and the Joplin tornado. Today, Life Cube, Inc. is pursuing partnerships with FEMA, the Red Cross, and the U.S. Army to deploy Life Cubes where needed. They also are looking into pursuing municipalities. If caches of Life Cubes were placed in various cities, then local officials could deploy them immediately after a disaster strikes—without waiting for Federal Aid approvals or third-party organizations.

    What do you think about the Life Cube? Would you ever buy one? Do you think it’s a realistic solution?

    Not quite your style? Learn how to  put together your own all-in-one portable shelter solution by reading our article, "How to Build your Own All-in-Four Portable Shelter."

    --Kim

    Sources:

    “Life Cube Sheltered Delivery System Brochure.pdf”

    Interview with Nick Pedersen

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: shelter, Survival

  • Recent Earthquakes in California cause people to prepare

    Since leaving Southern California a few years ago, I’ve been missing fresh avocado and Disneyland something fierce. One thing I haven’t missed? Earthquakes. I was reminded of how much I didn’t miss them when friends started reporting their experiences online with the recent 6.7 shaker.

    While the injury count is encouraging (none), the New York Times points to an important side effect: “For Californians, 2 Quakes Put Preparedness Back on the Map.” According to the article, the relatively gentle reminders lately have reminded a complacent community of the real and imminent danger of larger quakes. In fact, more than just encouraging residents to store water and practice earthquake safety, LA’s mayor is working with a prominent seismologist to overhaul the city’s unsound buildings and shore up its water and communications infrastructure.

    The short-term takeaway: events like this remind us of the importance of earthquake preparation. Is my house up to code? Have I stored food and water? Do I have ways to communicate with family or rescuers if phone towers are knocked out? These are important questions to answer, and you can find a thorough range of preparation resources in our post, “How to Prepare for an Earthquake.”

    There is, however, an even scarier lesson at work here. Angelinos certainly aren’t exclusively guilty of this, but the situation is a powerful reminder of how quickly we become complacent in our preparations. L.A.’s expert seismologist Lucille M. Jones calls the last 17 years “the quietest time we have ever seen,” in terms of seismic activity—but that’s barely a generation away from the lethal Northridge quake!

    A long stint without a disaster accomplishes two potentially fatal things. First, it tips preparedness off the radar of our consciousness. And second, it increases the likelihood of another disaster (for example, if experts predict my neighborhood will flood every ten years, and it’s been nine…). This principle really hits home for me. I said I was relieved to be away from the California fault lines, but experts have been predicting “The Big One,” a 9+ point mega-quake, here in my own Pacific Northwest for ages. The last one was in 1700. We’re long overdue, and we’re nowhere as prepared as Southern California!

     

    Whether it’s earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, or floods in your neck of the woods (and, let’s be honest, it’s never just one), don’t let a calm spell fool you. Follow LA county’s lead and take care of the problem before things get even dicier. Start here, and let us know how else we can help you!

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, natural disaster, Earthquake

  • Keeping Your Head Above Water with Flood Insurance

    Here’s a fun little pop quiz from FloodSmart.gov.

    True or False?

    • In the last five years, all fifty states have experienced some level of flooding.
    • Everyone lives in a flood zone.
    • Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover floods.

    If you answered “true” to all of the above, you get a gold star. And those aren’t even the scariest flood-related facts from the National Flood Insurance Program’s official site. Even more persuasive are the numbers, like $42,000(average flood insurance claim),4% (the interest rate on a federal disaster assistance loan, the typical relief source for the uninsured), and 1/3 (the fraction of flood disaster relief recipients who live outside high risk areas).

    Flooding stands in its own category of natural disasters, as it’s commonly an effect, rather than a cause. That means that it’s usually paired with something else disastrous—a result of hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides, even avalanches. That makes floods dangerous, expensive, and sneaky.

    All of this is why the federal government has put together this super helpful site. Because so few private insurers offer flood insurance (read more about that here), the NFIP was born to help fill the gap. Here’s a quick tour of what FloodSmart.gov offers and why you should take a peek, whether or not you live on a flood plain.

    • Regularly updated flood maps, complete with helpful designations and explanations. Find out whether you live in a high, low, or undetermined risk area and what each of those categories actually means. For example, a high risk area is one where you have a 1 in 4 risk of flooding in the course of a 30 year mortgage. Good to know!
    • Interactive damage cost calculator. Just pick a sample home size and the level of the flood—anywhere from an inch to four feet—and this handy graphic will show you the approximate cost of any flood. Try entering the smallest square footage and the shallowest flood, and prepare to have your mind blown.
    • All about residential coverage. Whether you own or rent your home, look here to find out what’s covered, how much you can expect to pay, and what steps to take to find coverage—including a neat little agent locator that lets you search by zip code. My first try brought up a well-known insurance agent in my own neighborhood!

     

    Flooding and flash flooding can happen during any season of the year. And because most policies require at least 30 days to take effect, the best time to look into flood insurance is always now!

    - Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: floods, flooding

  • How do Earthquakes impact your Mental Health?

    After a 4.4 magnitude earthquake shook California residents on St. Patrick’s Day, many people have found it difficult to shake their high-strung nerves, according to CBS Los Angeles’ article, “‘Earthquake Nerves’ could Impact Mental Health’”.

    Emotional aftershocks are common after experiencing emergencies or natural disasters. But did you know these aftershocks are capable of affecting your mental health if you ignore them?

    One of the most important things you can do after a disaster, according to Psychiatrist Charles Sophy, is to talk about your experience. Sophy believes emotional signs such as the inability to fall asleep or the lack of hunger are “signs that you’re still very upset [and] are red flags that you need to do something, which is either talking to [another] adult or call[ing] your doctor. Talk to your husband, your partner, whatever, but you’ve got to talk about it.”

    Talking about your experience can help alleviate the stress and anxiety that comes from the lack of control you felt during a crisis. It’s equally important to talk with your children if you’re a parent and to not underestimate or downplay the danger of earthquakes. Read the rest of the article here.

    Preparing will help alleviate some of the potential emotional turmoil and distress that comes from emergencies. Focus on the following areas (in addition to gathering gear and supplies):

    1. Prepare your home: You can prepare your home by building a supply of food, water, and gear to help you survive after an earthquake. You can go even further by bolting down furniture or securing vases, frames, and other moveable objects with an adhesive putty or gel, like these from Quake Hold.
    2.  Prepare your children: Teach your children how to stay safe at home, school, and while outdoors during an earthquake. Also let your children help make a plan, build an emergency kit, and get involved. Check out Ready.gov for ideas on how to include your children.
    3. Prepare yourself: Prepare yourself emotionally and physically for an earthquake. If you’ve taken the above precautions and prepared your home and your children, you’ll be able to better focus on keeping your emotions in check during an emergency.

     

    What precautions do you think are the most important to take for an earthquake?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, Earthquake, national disaster

  • Caught in a Mudslide: Survivors' Stories from Washington state

    Imagine hearing a crack and then sliding from zero to 20 miles per hour in half a second while sitting in the front room of your home. That’s how many described the massive mudslide that crashed through a neighborhood in Washington state on Saturday, March 22.

    As the mudslide rushed towards the homes below, people frantically cried for help. Evacuation teams immediately worked to rescue people from their homes, airlifting them from destroyed structures.

    One survivor spoke with the Washington Post about her experience:

    “I looked out the window, and I saw this huge wall of mud – must have been 20 feet tall. We went moving, and we were tumbled. I had a mouth full of mud, and nose full of it. We were under everything, and we had to dig our way out,” said Robin Youngblood.

    “To all my family and friends in many parts of the world – we’re all OK,” Youngblood wrote on her Facebook page after the event. “We don’t have a home at present, its only matchsticks, the landslide took it out with Jetty and I inside. It was a wild ride. We were airlifted out by helicopter after about an hour. The only thing that survived besides us is a painting called Night Warrior…”

    Read more stories from survivors from the Washington Post here.

    The rescue effort is still underway as volunteers search through the rubble. Right now the death toll is at 14, although emergency officials expect it to rise, and there are 176 people unaccounted for. Our hearts go out to all those suffering from this natural disaster.

    Landslides can be fast-moving or slow; they can cause damage gradually or destroy property and take lives in an instant. They can happen anywhere and for a variety of reasons (heavy rain and snowmelt, shaking due to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, erosion, and gravity, etc.).

    So what should you know about avoiding or preparing for landslides?

    The Red Cross shares three tips to help you avoid or prepare for landslides.

    1. Learn about your area’s landslide risk. Landslides tend to repeat in places where they have occurred in the past. If the home you’re hoping to build or buy is in an area where a landslide has occurred before, think seriously about choosing a different location.
    2. During severe rainstorms, avoid roads that may be in the path of a land/mudslide. Heavily saturated ground makes the chances of a mudslide more likely.
    3. Generally, landslide insurance is not available. However, some flood insurance companies may cover damage caused by debris flow. Check with your company and see how you can protect your home and personal property in the event that a mudslide does happen in your area.

     

    Have you ever been caught in a mudslide before? What was your experience? What would you do differently if you could?

    Photo Courtesy of the Washington Post

     

    Sources:

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/03/24/2-killed-in-big-wash-mudslide-sheriff-office-says/

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/03/24/the-fatal-mudslide-in-washington-what-was-it-like/

    http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/landslide

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, natural disasters

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