Friday, 25 February 2011

Earthquakes and Whistles (NZ to So.Cal Special)

This was the last thing I wrote on Facebook, before I decided to transition off of it.

Christchurch NZ, February 25, 2011
Please, take in this information and do the rational and compassionate thing. Your life and the lives of others may depend upon it.

Not to be too redundant, but if you live in Cali, what just happened in NZ could happen to you, and it's no hyperbole to say that, whenever the time comes, it is likely to be significantly worse. Consider that LA County (alone) is home to roughly 30 times more people than Christchurch. And check out this map. Cali is always shaking and could shake a lot harder. Based on rigorous and sincere research by the USGS, we know that So. Cal. is long overdue for a very big EQ.

Ken Hudnut, USGS' lead earthquake scientist:

"...the part of the southern San Andreas Fault that we are most concerned about...has a recurrence interval of about 150 years and yet it's been 300 years since the last big earthquake. So we know that section of the fault is really locked and loaded, ready to go." He talks about the most likely scenario in this vid, and a little about what it would mean for LA and surrounding areas:

If you live in So. Cal. (or Nor. Cal. for that matter, with ref. to the Loma Prieta quake), the building you live in could have been damaged enough in the Northridge quake (magnitude 6.8, 1994) that the next big quake will take it down. You can see how this kind of scenario physically plays out when looking at the NZ quakes. The first one (9/'10, 7.0 magnitude) damaged many buildings enough that they all together collapsed in this 6.3 quake. (There were, indeed, other factors present that contributed to this EQ being more devastating than their last. Namely, time and depth of origin.)

So what would you do if a building collapsed and you were trapped in the rubble? You would hope people find you in time before you couldn't hang on anymore. You might be severely injured and unable to save yourself. You would cry for help. You would use all your strength to yell for help, inhaling massive amounts of debris every time you gather the wind to yell. You could very well die that way and you wouldn't be the first to have done it. It is a common scenario after earthquakes. It is probably happening to some poor people in Christchurch right now. So what's the other alternative? Not yelling for help? No.
Three blows on the whistle means "HELP!!  Rescue me!!"

Get a whistle and do your best to have it on you (in your pocket) as much as possible. It's really the least you can do to prepare for an earthquake, but it's crucial. A whistle can save your life and save the lives of others. It will get you rescued - almost guaranteed.  There are no guarantees otherwise. There could be thousands of other people waiting to be rescued, and in the first few days guess who the rescue workers are going to attend to first.  Their families.

Here's my best recommendation, cause it's very loud, very small and flat, and practically indestructible: The Fox 40 Micro whistle If you don't mind yellow, these are the same whistles and they (at least used to) sell them at REI, also: There is some compromise with that whistle: size and flatness (pocketability) for effort to blow. But it's a good compromise and it's a great whistle. This guy is big, but it is the loudest and most shrill whistle available, that people would hear for blocks: (Also may be sold at REI.)

What else? There are a lot of things you can do to prepare for earthquakes. A lot of things. But start simple. Think camping. Think camping when you and lots of other people may be injured. Also, there is no clean water source, if there is a water source at all. Remember, no electricity. Maybe fire... So it's quite a camping trip. I hope you don't have to go on it, but it may just come to you. And when it does, I do hope you're prepared.

Poke around online for lists of things to compile. Read several. They vary. Don't trust the Red Cross. Their recommendations are minimal. Def don't buy their kits. They are cheaply made. Really, don't buy a pre-made kit unless it's just a back-up. Assemble your supplies. Do it gradually if your funds are limited. Prioritize. It's your duty to yourself. This isn't make-believe. It's just being human in the 3rd dimension on planet Earth. Shi(f)t happens. And, if you're not prepared, you suffer a lot more than if you are.

Lots of love, dear people. I hope you help yourself. I'd hate to see any of you suffer unnecessarily when you could have just been prepared. I hope there were lots of prepared people in NZ this time, and that those who were not prepared are rescued in time.

*Great books*
"Preparedness Now" by Aton Edwards

"When All Hell Breaks Loose" by Cody Lundin
(this book is hilarious, truly, and authoritative)

1 comment:

  1. With reference to "thousands of other people" potentially needing to be rescued: again, compare the population figures, for LA County and Christchurch.

    LA County has roughly 30 times more people than the latter. So if, already, Christchurch reports over 100 dead, that would mean 3,000 in LA, in an event of similar magnitude and destruction. As of writing, we are only three days into their disaster and there are still at least 200 people missing. If the death toll were to rise to 300, we could then infer that a commensurate number might perish in a LA event; 9,000.