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Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake? 191

Posted by timothy
from the hey-man-what's-the-exoskeleton-for? dept.
With three earthquakes of some significance in the news this weekend (Chile, California, and Iceland), it seems a good time to ask: If you live in an area of seismic danger, how are you prepared for an earthquake (or tsunami, mudslide, or other associated danger) and how prepared are you? Do you have a stash of emergency supplies, and if so, how did you formulate it? In the U.S. alone, it's surprising how many areas there are with some reasonable chance of earthquakes, though only a few of them are actually famous for it — and those areas are the ones where everything from building codes to cultural awareness helps mitigate the risks. I'm not sure I'd want to be in a skyscraper in Memphis or St. Louis during a replay of the New Madrid quakes of 1811-1812, which is probably worth worrying about for those in the region. Beyond personal safety, do you have a plan for your electronics and data if the earth starts shaking?
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Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 24, 2014 @04:17PM (#47743297)

    That's why we destroy water supplies to export shitty shale oils.

  • Not at all (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drolli (522659) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @04:18PM (#47743309) Journal

    I live in an area without Earthquakes.

    But when i lived in Japan:

    -Emergency radio with Crank generator and LED flashlight, Buzzer (in case you are trapped inside a (partially) collapsed house and dont want to shout all the time), mobile phone charger, and radio receiver for all channels, lying close/in my bed (http://tlet.co.jp/pro_radio/ty_jr11/index_j.htm)
    -2 Liters of water (i lived alone)

    In Japan we had earthquake drills of the housing community one time per year, and one time per year in the company. In the housing community we were shown the nearest small emergency area, which had food and water stored in boxes, medical supplies and tools/shovels. We trained how to use fire extinguishers.
    And everybody shoudl have had look at (and i had) how to reach the next bigger emergency area (which typically was a bigger public park with an area for helicopter landings and some toilets.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 24, 2014 @04:39PM (#47743437)

    Swap the batteries for AA lithium energizers. It is a cheap upgrade and compatible with all your AA equipment. They have 10 years shelf live and will not leak so you can keep some in your light. This way the light are usable immediately if the emergency happen at night.

    Propane are not ideal for fuel. Look into alcohol stove. The methyl hydrate [wikipedia.org] is cheap and still available in store when everything else is out. Very few peoples use that as fuel. They are flock in into the gas station. Methanol is also safer as it will not explode.

  • Re:Things (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @04:41PM (#47743441) Journal
    It's all about degrees of disaster. If there's a real disaster, I wouldn't give a rodent's behind about my electronics and I too would be happy with my emergency stash of food and water. But even so I have taken some precautions... My router, server, NAS etc sit in the basement, but they are mounted as high as possible in case there's a flood, and there's a flood detector as well. No use against a real flood (we live below sea level), but if the water mains bursts or if a minor dike breaks, my stuff will be reasonably safe and I will be notified in time to move it if the flooding continues. The same level of protection that people arrange in hurricane areas, I suppose, like having sheets of wood handy to board up the windows with. Not sure how you'd protect your things against a minor earthquake, though. Not mounting them in a wobbly cabinet is probably a good start.
  • Somewhat prepared (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AaronW (33736) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @05:11PM (#47743585) Homepage

    All of my bookshelves are strapped to the wall. My hot water heater has three straps (only 2 are required). Emergency rations are available plus I have my camping equipment and propane for my stove. Next to my bed I have an emergency radio that charges via USB, solar or a hand crank. I'm not terribly concerned about water though I keep several gallons of bottled water. I have a water purification system for camping but the main water supply is literally two blocks away from me though it's on the other side of the Hayward Fault. They just retrofitted the water pipes crossing the fault a few months ago right near my house. In an emergency there's always 50 gallons in my hot water tank. I also have a wrench handy for turning off the water and gas. I'm more worried about gas, especially given that we're supplied by PG&E [wikipedia.org]. It took many years of complaining by my parents until they fixed a rather sizeable gas leak under their property. The only thing I'm missing is a generator.

    I imagine I'll have a lot of stuff falling off of my shelves making a huge mess.

    My house is only a few hundred feet from the Hayward fault. The fault goes right through one of the nearby apartment buildings. Many years ago the developers would conveniently relocate the fault to suit them. Our old city hall which was built on stilts was built on top of a mound that was pushed up between two traces of the Hayward Fault. [google.com]

    My house is bolted to its foundation and is only a single story so it will probably be OK though I might have some damage from my chimney. I also have earthquake insurance though it's quite expensive (around $4K/year).

  • Fuel and H20 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 24, 2014 @05:11PM (#47743587)

    After living in Christchurch, I can tell you that nothing mentally can prepare you.
    But have water, fuel, sleeping bags, crank radio, and a tent on hand.
    Fights break out over fuel - that was a surprise to me.
    Water takes a long time to get where it is needed - and then it takes horrible and may even make you sick.
    And be prepared to bug out - leave your material possessions behind. You realize how much of a burden material things are after an earthquake.

  • Re:But (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @05:41PM (#47743723)

    No mod points today, so here's a virtual +1 Funny to you.

  • by NeoTron (6020) <[ten.sredilgyracs] [ta] [nivek]> on Sunday August 24, 2014 @07:26PM (#47744203) Homepage
    I lived in Japan for 6 years, in Koriyama city, Fukushima prefecture, and went through the Magnitude 9 quake on the 11th March 2011.

    I'll second everything you said, with the addition of;

    -- A generator if the power is cut off (luckily the power stayed on after that quake [ VERY luckily!])
    -- Some gerry cans filled with gasoline [ with a regime of fuel rotation to keep the gas fresh ]
          as you need fuel for the genny.

    -- Keep your vehicle fuel tanks filled to the top - you might have to evacuate the area [ my house was 33 miles
          from the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant that went FOOM! ]
    -- If you do live nearby by a nuclear power plant, get a Geiger counter [ bought one after the aforementioned BANG ]

    -- Don't live nearby the sea [ Koriyama is smack bang in the middle of Japan and the scale of tsunami required to reach
            there from the ocean would be so great that the cause of the tsunami (quake, asteroid, whatever) would render any
            preparation or plans irrelevant anyway ]
    -- Don't live at a low elevation, because even if you're some miles inland a tsunami can still get at you [ as happened in Japan ]
    -- This includes not living nearby a river that runs to the sea for obvious reasons

    Oh, and I moved me and mine back to my native Scotland - good, solid, ancient and most importantly, inert land.

When you don't know what to do, walk fast and look worried.

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