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Old 01-24-2010, 05:26 PM   #41
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I heard an amazing stat today while watching one of the AM shows on TV. If I understood it correctly, there were 360,000 orphans in Haiti prior to the earthquake. No telling how many are there now. Wow!
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Old 01-24-2010, 11:50 PM   #42
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Haiti has made me realize that all of our preparations (currently a 72-hour kit and small amount of cash, with plans to have 3 weeks of food and water, more cash, communications equipment, a better medical kit and a neighborhood association set up) might not matter. Our biggest natural disaster risk (aside from wildfire) is earthquake; that one gives no warning and can destroy the infrastructure of a city in seconds. So what if we have a massive earthquake (entirely possible) and the majority or all of our preparedness gear is trapped in our collapsed building? What does that leave us with?

In that sort of scenario, the assets I'll have (assuming I survive, of course) are the knowledge in my head and my ability to use it. So I'm working on acquiring more knowledge. For example, I need to re-take the Red Cross First Aid and CPR classes. I'll probably also take Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) here locally. We've located a local, natural, year-round source of water (not potable water, but I'm figuring out how we could make it potable if we had no access to filters, bleach, etc.) In my walks around the neighborhood with the kids, I try to pay attention to my surroundings. Those neighbors with the huge trucks with Canine Search-and-Rescue bumper stickers and CB antennae? Noted. They could help located and dig people out of the rubble. The guy who occasionally comes home with his ambulance crew to grab his lunch? Noted. We might need a paramedic if the Big One hits. The location of power lines (and more importantly, the areas where they aren't) -- noted. If the lines are down and I need to go somewhere, I'll know how to get where I'm going without having to dance over live lines. I know where the only five pay phones in our neighborhood are, in case cell towers are knocked out. Our neighborhood happens to have a centrally-located school with large grounds and an adjacent city park; that's the place that I'd recommend for a mass feeding / shelter / field hospital location. With my training and background, I can organize and run mass feeding and sanitation for a lot of people, and so I've looked at that location and thought about where we'd put the latrines, the kitchen, the water, etc. This assumes that I'd be involved with the planning and organization of a localized relief effort, but the odds are good that in a huge disaster that's the sort of thing that might make a real difference -- having help and organization from within, since that without is likely to take a long time to come.

I hope that if something awful happens, we're OK and can leave (to my MIL's, most likely), but if we can't get out and the town is toast, I'd like to think that by identifying resources and investing in some personal training, I'd be able to help both my family and my neighborhood cope.

And as far as personal safety -- we've decided not to have firearms in the house, but bear spray is another thing entirely. It's also useful when walking the dog.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:07 AM   #43
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Your planning is very impressive, Urchina.

Back to Haiti, I wonder how much rescuers are thinking about possible exposure to AIDS? Haiti is where it all began.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:12 AM   #44
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I'd worry less about AIDS than I would malaria, dengue, or cholera. Basic universal precautions (gloves, face shields, care with needles) will greatly reduce your chances of HIV exposure, and rapid antiretroviral treatment after accidental blood exposure will help prevent active infection. Cholera? That stuff can kill you in 24 hours, and current conditions in Haiti are exactly right for a huge outbreak.
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:21 AM   #45
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A few specific school buildings in our area are already designated as Red Cross evacuation shelters for folks closer to the coast than us. This means that they will have on hand bottled water and blankets for folks fleeing from an impending hurricane. I think the state and local government officials can decide when to open such shelters and announce there locations. They have been used a number of times already.

In essence, the state procedure is that folks evacuating from specific ZIP codes are supposed to go to pre-designated shelters/centers. You are supposed to know where your pre-designated shelter is before disaster hits you.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:25 PM   #46
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Good reads, appropriate to this thread:

1. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
2. One Second After, by William Fortschen
3. Lucifers Hammer, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:10 PM   #47
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The greatest threat for us here in CA is fire, not earthquakes - in my opinion. It can move swiftly, profoundly, and without much warning; it strikes every year. We make sure that the land is free of ladder (for the fire) material, and clear all brush from within 100 feet of the house.

I think that the greatest security is in community planning, meeting and knowing our neighbors, and having a family plan. In our county, there are those of us who are stockpiling food - just in case the food trucks aren't, for some reason running.
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:12 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy View Post
Your planning is very impressive, Urchina.

Back to Haiti, I wonder how much rescuers are thinking about possible exposure to AIDS? Haiti is where it all began.
DD told me yesterday that one of her classmates was in Haiti working for the Centers for Disease Control re AIDS. She's missing .
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:25 PM   #49
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We went about a week with out power after an ice storm in Dec 08. Learned that a generator and decent fuel supply are key.

If the near by nuke plant popped or a Cat 5 hit near by ... we'ld push inland; go to the lake. Hopefully I'll have installed a Gaurdian generator by then ... otherwise the 5000 watt gas powered generator will have to suffice.

On the gun front, I keep a 12 gauge and a box of shells. But I'ld be no match for the locals (they shoot the eyes out of small game). Haven't fired the thing in probably 10 years.
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:56 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
(In the plains of Texas farther north, the tornado risk is MUCH higher.)
I concur (I lived/was stationed in Lubbock for a bit back in the late 60's)

We had a few smaller one's in the area in 1967/68 when I was there. At least I missed the F5 in 1970 (26 killed). At that time I lived/was stationed in the Florida Panhandle.
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:51 PM   #51
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For a disaster of local or regional proportion:

We always keep several weeks worth of food/water in the pantry and plenty of firewood at the ready in case we need to hunker down at home for several days. DW and I spent 10 days without water or electricity a few years ago during a snow storm, and we managed just fine, using the fireplace for heat and cooking.

If we need to leave town post disaster, it would not be very difficult since "out of town" starts in our backyard. We just have to hike it out of there through the woods.

Once we make it outside the disaster area, access to money to pay for a motel room, a rental car or airplane tickets would not be a problem. Almost all of our net worth is portable and consists of liquid assets held at large, national banks and they can be accessed very quickly from anywhere in the US. The majority of it could actually be accessed from anywhere in the world with a simple debit card. If our area was ravaged by a natural disaster of biblical proportions, we would not hesitate to leave our cheap house and cars behind and immediately start rebuilding our lives in another part of the country or the world.

I can identify three natural disaster risks in our area: hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes.

We live several hundred miles away from the coast, so the risk of a cat 4-5 hurricane landing on our door steps is remote, but we could still have to deal with the remnants of the storm: destructive winds, flooding and landslides. If a strong hurricane was to target our area, we would evacuate beforehand. But again, given our location, the risk of wild spread destruction due to hurricanes are very remote.

Tornadoes are frequent visitors to our area and they represent our highest risk. But the aftermath of a tornado doesn't concern me much. A F2 tornado touched down in downtown last week and only a small part of the city was impacted. Rescue crews from the city/county were on location very swiftly and cleanup was prompt. In any case, it would be easy enough to hike out of the relatively small disaster area and quickly resume a fairly normal life.

The last risk we are facing is earthquake. We live a few hundred miles away from the New Madrid fault line and although it is has not caused widespread devastation in almost 2 centuries, the risk is definitely there.
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:54 PM   #52
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Are We Prepared for an 8.8 Quake? - Room for Debate Blog - NYTimes.com
is a discussion of the "are we prepared" topic now that Chile has had an earthquake.
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:00 PM   #53
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Despite the destruction and death in Chile, the better infrastructure and buildings seem to have made the losses several orders of magnitude less than in Haiti. It would not surprise me at all if insured losses from the weekend European windstorm did not turn out to be higher than the Chilean earthquake losses.
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:06 PM   #54
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It was also deeper than the Haiti quake, which helped.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:58 AM   #55
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I would like to see some measure of the severity of the shaking in, say, Concepcion versus Port-au-Prince rather than the Richter scale measurements of the quakes at the epicenter .

Imagine: if the Chilean earthquake were 500 times stronger than that in Haiti, a ground movement of one inch in Haiti would correspond to a movement of 42 feet in Chile.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:25 AM   #56
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Imagine: if the Chilean earthquake were 500 times stronger than that in Haiti, a ground movement of one inch in Haiti would correspond to a movement of 42 feet in Chile.
I'm no geologist or seismologist, but I would guess that earthquake force at a given location would be roughly proportional to the cube root of the total magnitude or total energy. The energy is spread over a three dimensional area. So a 500x increase in strength might equate to a roughly eight fold increase in "force" at a given location.

Any science people know for sure? I'm just purely guessing.
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:29 AM   #57
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Based on my limited understanding of seismology FUEGO's analysis is correct.

Of course how the energy is dissipated will depend on the nature of the soil (rock) in the adjoining area. For example, in areas with a lot of recent (in geological time) sediment the soil will liquefy and the way the energy is expressed will have a different effect on the same structure sitting on granite or other hard rock.

My father was a soils engineer. He once opined that nuclear waste should be deposited just under an uplift plate and leave it to nature to drive it deeper into the core using plate dynamics.
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:52 AM   #58
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I spent some 14+ years in the "moving the earth" and related businesses aka Seismology. Rather than try to do a long winded explanation, the link below at one of my former places of amusement should be helpful.

It was written by Art Learner-Lam of Lamont observatory a division of Columbia University. He was one of many freshly minted Phds when I was getting ready to move on to more amusing work.

Just as a point of info: There is no such thing anymore as the Richter scale. That scale was invented by the fellow named Richter. He made a seismometer. The scale he devised was only applicable to that specific instrument, and the peculiar frequency response and sensitivity. Nothing like it has been in use for many decades. They only use the term because the media just can't seem to drop it.

Just call it magnitude.



Haiti: Physics of Quakes Past, and Future | Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Add: In those days one of my favorite answers to to the question of what do you do, was " I make the earth move". Interested ladies usually got friendler after that.
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Old 03-02-2010, 12:38 PM   #59
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Thanks for the correction. Is there any measure of the amount of shaking at a point on the ground (unrelated to epicenter) that correlates with damage? For example, something that takes into account the length and nature of the shaking.

For example, the news could say "Although the Chilean earthquake had a magnitude of 8.8, a DMAG reading of only 6.2 was registered at the Concepcion International Airport."
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:14 PM   #60
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I did hear them talking on the news about the degree of shaking at various locations and the amount of shaking versus Haiti - plus discussion of the soil differences between Haiti and Chilean mountains. But I don't remember any details or who was the science expert in the discussion.

Audrey
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