Tag Archives: Earthquake

  • From Nepal to Michigan - Earthquakes Happen Anywhere

    The last few months have been traumatic for Nepal. Two major earthquakes in just over two weeks, with the ongoing possibility of aftershocks, thousands dead and hundreds still unaccounted for, have captured for the region the attention, sympathy, and aid of the world. While certain areas are more prone to specific disasters—one source calls Kathmandu “one of the most seismically hazardous regions on Earth”—the perverseness of this month’s tragic repeat is hard to swallow.

    In light of the loss and damage, one US pastor appealed to his congregation recently to donate to aid efforts for Nepal. You can watch that appeal here.

     

     

    Did you happen to notice the tremor at about the 25 second mark? That would be Mother Nature’s idea of a really bad joke. On Saturday, May 2nd, in the middle of Pastor Michael Young’s sermon, western Michigan experienced an extremely rare 4.2 earthquake. There were no casualties, and the bulk of the damage amounted to goods falling off store shelves, but the message is loud and clear:

    Anytime, anywhere.

    Those living in common earthquake country may be accustomed to certain precautions, like specific seismic building codes or school earthquake drills in California, for example. But if recent events teach us anything, it’s that preparation is crucial, no matter where we live.

    In a post from last month titled, “Can Animals Predict Earthquakes,” we outlined the basics of earthquake prep, including making a plan, collecting gear, securing your home, and educating yourself. We also included, at the end of the article, links to organizations like Red Cross and Ready.gov, whose earthquake safety pages are thorough and valuable.

    Here are three more graphics to help with your family’s earthquake preparedness, ranging from the most basic (and crucial!) information to the most detailed.

    First, what every adult and child should know, according to the CDC:

    What to know during an earthquake

     

    Next, the Bay Area Earthquake Alliance’s 7 Steps to Earthquake Safety:

    Bay Area Infographic

     

    And finally, a fantastically helpful, room-by-room guide to home preparation, from the Seattle Times:

    Seattle Times Room-By-Room

     

    No matter your region’s seismic history, earthquakes are a looming possibility. Teach your family the basics and prepare your home against disaster, so that you can be ready for anything!

    For more information on earthquakes, visit beprepared.com/earthquake

     

    Earthquakes will happen

     

    Sources:

     

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/02/us/michigan-earthquake/index.html

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NO2z4k7sw4g

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/12/asia/nepal-earthquake/

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/04/150425-nepal-earthquake-faults-geology-science/

    http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/earthquakes/

    http://bayquakealliance.org/prepare/7steps/

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/get-ready-to-rumble-a-guide-to-earthquake-preparedness/

    http://beprepared.com/blog/17990/can-animals-predict-earthquakes/

    http://www.ready.gov/earthquakes

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

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Insight, Planning Tagged With: immunity, Nepal earthquake, Nepal, Michigan earthquake, Earthquake

  • Can Animals Predict Earthquakes?

    When it comes to natural disasters, early warning systems are literal lifesavers. That’s why seismologists and earthquake engineers have spent decades trying to identify early predictors of earthquakes—without much luck, unfortunately. But while seismographic technology gets fancier and more expensive, one group of researchers is taking a different tack.

     

    Multicoloured cute kitty in karate style jump positionFolk wisdom has long held that animals exhibit unusual behavior prior to an earthquake. The US Geological Survey helpfully reminds us that animals do weird things for lots of unexplained reasons (why, for example, does the neighbor’s cat single me out for cuddles when I’m the only allergic person in the room?). A newly published study documents just such unusual behavior in Peru’s Yanachaga National Park the week before a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. Evidence of this unusual behavior came through the park's motion triggered cameras:

     

    "[It was] determined that the park's cameras traditionally see between five and 15 animals in one day. However, a whole week before the earthquake struck, that number dramatically dropped, with five or fewer animals spotted by any one camera five to seven days before the quake."

     

    Unusual indeed.

     

    The science seems sound: pressure built up before an earthquake sends an electric charge through layers of rock, which is released into the air at the surface, causing the ionization of air molecules. Ionization can affect serotonin levels in mammals, and while a little serotonin feels pretty good (that’s the chemical in our brain that contributes to feelings of happiness and relaxation), too much serotonin can have the opposite affect. Researchers hypothesize that animals suffering from nausea or restlessness associated with too much serotonin in an earthquake prone area will move to a place with less charged air—which is exactly what happened on camera in Peru.

     

    All this is fantastically exciting when it comes to earthquake prediction, but it’s not exactly practical information yet. Unless you have a convenient way to monitor your dog’s serotonin levels, you might be better off focusing on preparedness, rather than prediction—especially if you live in an area prone to earthquakes. Here are a few ways we can use our resources to plan ahead for the Big One.

     

    Have a plan. As with any disaster, the most crucial tool in our toolbox is a plan. Know the safest place to hunker down in your house. Know how to contact family members at work or school. Know where you’ll all meet when it’s over. And make sure kids practice the plan until it’s second nature.

     

    Get gear. We all know we need to have an emergency kit. If you live in earthquake country, there may be more specific items you should have handy. Consider storing things like heavy-duty work gloves and boots, dust masks, and insurance information. It’s also smart to keep shoes and a flashlight by every bed, in the event of a nighttime tremor.

     

    Secure your space. Many of the injuries sustained during an earthquake are not from collapsing structures, but from broken glass and falling objects. Heavy furniture—and especially top-heavy pieces—should be bolted to walls; items on bookshelves can be stabilized with putty; and heavy wall art or mirrors or shelves should never hang over beds and couches. Additionally, know how to shut off gas and water, and make sure any structural cracks or leaks are repaired.

     

    Be your own best resource. No early warning system is as reliable as good, old-fashioned know-how. Become an expert in earthquake protocols. Learn CPR. Head up a community response team. Practice earthquake drills. And read up on engineering codes for your area to make sure your family and neighborhood are safe.

     

    Have you experienced an earthquake? What are your best tips for earthquake prep?

     

     

     

    References:

     

    http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/13766/20150330/animals-still-best-earthquake-warning-system-weve.htm

     

    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007272.htm

     

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364682609001837

     

    https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/emergencypreparedness/guides/earthquakes.html

     

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/topics/megaqk_facts_fantasy.php

     

    http://earthquakecountry.org/sevensteps/

     

    http://www.ready.gov/earthquakes

     

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

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Emergency Kits, Planning Tagged With: predict, Prepare, Earthquake, animals

  • 3 Simple Lists for Earthquake Preparedness

    If an earthquake rocks your city, will you have prepared yourself, your family, and your home for life after the quake? Knowing what to do before, during, and after an earthquake is essential. FEMA.gov has a prepared a comprehensive list of earthquake preparedness items from which I borrow.

     

    Before The Quake

    First and foremost, prepare your family. 72-hour kits are a must have for any disaster. Your 72-hour kit should supply you with enough resources so you and your family will make it through the first three days following a major earthquake. A good kit includes:

    • Emergency ChecklistWater
    • Non-perishable food (MREs are always a good 72-hour kit option)
    • First aid kit
    • Blanket (keeps out the cold, can be used as an impromptu shelter)
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • Books, toys, games for kids (OK, and for adults, too. Don’t forget my Star Wars toys!)
    • Complete change of clothing
    • Portable radio (runs on batteries or other alternate source of energy, such as solar or hand-crank)
    • Important documents and cash (ATMs and bank systems may be offline)
    • Special needs (diapers, medications, prescriptions, etc.)

     

    Of course, there are many other things you could put in your emergency 72-hour kit. For a more in-depth look at what you could put in your 72-hour kit, check out ready.gov’s list for a basic disaster supplies kit. Or, take a look at some of our pre-built emergency kits and specialized disaster kits, such as our earthquake emergency kit.

    Also before an earthquake, make sure you secure anything that could tumble to the ground. This includes TVs, microwaves, computers, and other electronics. Don’t forget to anchor your bookshelves to the walls. Other things to anchor securely are filing cabinets, china cabinets, and tall furniture. Avoid placing heavy objects about your bed or other areas in which you may be sitting. For a full list of ways to prepare before an earthquake, ready.gov has a great article you can look into.

     

    During the Quake

    Nessie I said "Nelly", not "Nessie"!

    As the saying goes, “Drop, cover, and hold on, Nelly!”

    This is fairly self-explanatory (except for maybe who Nelly is). Basically, you’ll want to:

    • Drop to your hands and knees.
    • Cover your head and neck with your arms. This will help protect you from falling objects.
    • Hold on to anything sturdy until the shaking stops (Let me clarify – until the earth stops shaking. You might be shaking for a while afterwards. That is called adrenaline and is normal.)
    • Stay away from windows, glass, and anything that could fall (ie. light fixtures and furniture)
    • If you are trapped under debris:
      • Do not light a match.
      • Use clothing or handkerchief to cover your mouth to avoid breathing in dust and other debris.
    • If you are in a car, stay inside until the tremors are over.

     

    After the Quake

    Although the earthquake has stopped, there are still dangers. Make sure you proceed with caution in the immediate aftermath of the quake.

    • After Quake SafteyCheck for injuries.
    • Wear shoes to avoid cutting your feet on broken glass or other debris.
    • Do not turn on lights or use electrical appliances inside your home until you know there is no gas leak. When using a flashlight, turn it on outside the home (flashlight battery could create a spark that could ignite gas if there is a leak).
    • Use cellular network to communicate. Texting can sometimes get through busy networks where phone calls fail.

     

    Of course, there are always more things to be aware of and keep in mind than what any one person can write down. By using caution you can avoid other unpleasantries and injuries, so be sure to stop and think about the safest way to approach each scenario as you come to them.

    Earthquakes can be devastating, but with the proper preparation and knowledge, you can still be safe and comfortable during the days that follow. Take the time to prepare now, so when an earthquake does happen, you will be ready and able to help yourself, your family, and your community.

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Emergency Kits, Planning Tagged With: what to do, Earthquake, emergency preparedness

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