Note: This is day 11 of National Preparedness Month. Follow this year’s campaign on Twitter by searching for the #NatlPrep #BeReady or #PrepMonth hashtags.
This month, as part of NPM20, I’ll be rerunning some updated preparedness essays, along with some new ones.
Glenn P. Biasi, Katherine M. Scharer
Seismological Research Letters (2019) 90 (3): 1168-1176.
Paleoseismic and historical earthquake records used to quantify earthquake recurrence rates can also be used to test the likelihood of seismically quiescent periods. At principal paleoseismic sites in California on the San Andreas, San Jacinto, Elsinore, and Hayward faults, no ground‐rupturing earthquake has occurred in the last 100 yr, yet this interval is about three times the average interearthquake period for the ensemble of sites.
They agree that the next 100 years of California earthquakes along these faults could be a busy one. “If our work is correct,” Scharer and Biasi note, the next century isn’t going to be like the last one, but could more like the century that ended in 1918.”
When you add in that the Gulf and Atlantic coastlines are susceptible to tsunamis generated from distant earthquakes (see East Coast Tsunami Threats), then there is better than a 50-50 chance that you live in an area that is at risk of some seismically induced disaster.
FEMA and the U.S. government conducted a huge drill four years ago (see FEMA: Cascadia Rising 2016) involving 20,000 people from both the United States and Canada, in order to prepare for a catastrophic M9.0 quake & tsunami off the Pacific coast.
Perhaps least appreciated is the seismic history of South Carolina, which in 1886 was struck by an (Est. 7.3-7.6 magnitude) quake that devastated much of Charleston, South Carolina. Shaking was felt as far north as Boston, south to Cuba, and west as far as New Orleans.
- 45,000 injuries
- 9,000 hospitalizations
- 900 fatalities
- 200,000 displaced or homeless persons
- 20 billion dollars in Damage
Even if you don’t live or work in the shake zone of one of the events, should a great quake strike any one of them, the economic and societal impacts could easily spread far beyond the damaged area.
A quake of that size could impact the transportation of food, the delivery of energy (power, gas, coal, etc.), the national power grid, and the nation’s economy in ways we can only partially imagine.
The third Thursday in October (Oct 15th in 2020) is International Shakeout Day, when dozens of states and countries practice earthquake safety. If you live in or near one of these seismically active areas, I strongly would urge you, your family, and your employees take part in these yearly drills.
But after the shaking stops, you’ll have to find ways to cope with the aftermath.
While 72 hours is an admirable start, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with it. Here in the United States many agencies and organizations recommend that households work towards having a 10-to-14 day supply of food, water, and emergency supplies on hand.
As the (above) graphic illustrates (see #NatlPrep: FEMA National Household Preparedness Survey), while we’ve seen some improvement over past few years, Americans still have a long way to go if we are to cultivate a culture of preparedness.