What should we be doing in an earthquake?
Drop – get down to the ground or floor before the shaking of the earth throws you there. (Do this in the first couple of seconds.)
– get under a table or desk or other piece of furniture that can
protect you from falling items such as books, light fixtures, etc.
Face away from windows and mirrors.
Hold – hold on to the furniture, move with it. It is your protection from falling objects.
- Victims who try to move on their feet during serious shaking are often thrown violently by the seismic forces and can suffer serious injury from being thrown AND…
-Are at risk for suffering life-threatening injuries from being simultaneously imbedded with glass shards. Actual post-earthquake data show that large and dagger-like shards of glass can travel more than 20 feet, and with enough force to penetrate solid wood. If you are attempting to move on your feet, your entire body is exposed to glass and other objects that can forcefully fly from every direction.
Be prepared for aftershocks.
There has been a challenge to Drop, Cover, Hold that the Red Cross says is wrong. Also from the Red Cross:
The American Red Cross has not recommended use of a doorway for
earthquake protection for more than a decade. The problem is that
many doorways are not built into the structural integrity of a
building, and may not offer protection. Also, simply put, doorways
are not suitable for more than one person at a time.
Get a plan. It's not to scare the kids; it's to empower them. Make sure your kids have an out-of-state contact on their phone. (Not that they'll work right away but if they do.) You need an out-of-state contact because the local lines will be jammed. But you might be able to call a brother in Boston and, if everyone checks in with him, you'll know who's okay and where they are.
Get prepared. Honestly, do this because even a "smaller" earthquake (say, anything
over 7.0) is going to cause trouble. Do you remember Katrina 10 years
ago? I, myself, do NOT believe anyone will come and help for a least
two days. And, don't forget your car. As well, have the kids help you get ready; they're part of the solution and, if you aren't home but they are, they will know where supplies are. Lastly, secure that water heater - you don't need it falling over and creating an even worse situation.
For the kids, a website called "Disaster Hero" where your kid has to try to survive a natural disaster.
School Safety Center
The 2013 Legislature allocated $10 million in competitive grant capital
funds to help school districts with implementing an emergency response
system (Second Substitute Senate Bill 5197).
In addition to the competitive grants, the legislation also required
school districts to collaborate with local law enforcement agencies and
school security personnel to develop an emergency response system using
evolving technology. This was done to expedite the response and arrival
of law enforcement in the event of a threat or emergency at a school.
By December 1, 2014, each school district was required to submit a
progress report on implementation of such an emergency response to the
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The Stranger Slog had excellent coverage of the New Yorker article including an interview with Sandy Doughton, author of Full-Rip 9.0; the Next Big Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest. She says this:
Also, nearly 1,000 schools in Oregon have a high risk of collapse in a
major earthquake. Most of Seattle’s public schools have been
retrofitted—but lots of other districts haven’t done much, and there’s
been no statewide survey of school safety in Washington.
Portland, Seattle, Vancouver—which city is going to get it worse?
Definitely Portland. They didn’t consider quakes in their building
codes until the late 1980s, and most of those bridges downtown are old
About east versus west of I-5 and who will be worse off:
It’s true that the shaking weakens with distance from the fault, but I
wouldn’t count on that tiny margin to save you. What I think the FEMA
official meant is that a lot of our infrastructure in Western
WA—utilities, roads, some bridges, brick buildings—will be wrecked, and
access to the coast will be cut off.
What will happen when this earthquake hits (according to The New Yorker article)?
The Pacific Northwest has no early-warning system. When the Cascadia
earthquake begins, there will be, instead, a cacophony of barking dogs
and a long, suspended, what-was-that moment before the surface waves
arrive. Surface waves are slower, lower-frequency waves that move the
ground both up and down and side to side: the shaking, starting in
Soon after that shaking begins, the electrical grid will fail, likely
everywhere west of the Cascades and possibly well beyond. If it happens
at night, the ensuing catastrophe will unfold in darkness. In theory,
those who are at home when it hits should be safest; it is easy and
relatively inexpensive to seismically safeguard a private dwelling. But,
lulled into nonchalance by their seemingly benign environment, most
people in the Pacific Northwest have not done so. That nonchalance will
shatter instantly. So will everything made of glass.
Water heaters will fall and smash interior gas lines. Houses that are
not bolted to their foundations will slide off—or, rather, they will
stay put, obeying inertia, while the foundations, together with the rest
of the Northwest, jolt westward. Unmoored on the undulating ground, the
homes will begin to collapse.
First mention of schools:
Ian Madin, who directs the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI), estimates that seventy-five per cent of all structures in the state are not designed to withstand a major Cascadia quake. FEMA
calculates that, across the region, something on the order of a million
buildings—more than three thousand of them schools—will collapse or be
compromised in the earthquake.
So will half of all highway bridges, fifteen of the seventeen bridges
spanning Portland’s two rivers, and two-thirds of railways and airports;
also, one-third of all fire stations, half of all police stations, and
two-thirds of all hospitals.
After the earthquake, then come landslides to our city.
It will also induce a process called liquefaction, whereby seemingly
solid ground starts behaving like a liquid, to the detriment of anything
on top of it. Fifteen per cent of Seattle is built on liquefiable land,
including seventeen day-care centers and the homes of some thirty-four
thousand five hundred people.
Together, the sloshing, sliding, and shaking will trigger fires,
flooding, pipe failures, dam breaches, and hazardous-material spills.
And if there's a tsunami?
Among natural disasters, tsunamis may be the closest to being completely
unsurvivable. The only likely way to outlive one is not to be there
when it happens: to steer clear of the vulnerable area in the first
place, or get yourself to high ground as fast as possible.
“When that tsunami is coming, you run,” Jay Wilson, the chair of the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission (OSSPAC), says. “You protect yourself, you don’t turn around, you don’t go back to save anybody. You run for your life.”
In Oregon, the superintendent of schools for Seaside, tried to pass a
bond measure for $128M for a K-12 school that would be outside of the
inundation zone. It failed by 62%.