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Times Are A’changin, But The Earth Keeps A’shakin!

By: Jorge Palafox

November 08, 2011

Ok, folks, so I haven’t been around lately to keep you posted on what’s going on.  October was a busy month not only for myself but for those pesky disasters.  And we have been very, very lucky.  Those small tremors originating across the bay is that small reminder to stay prepared. It has been forecasted by the experts that the Hayward fault is the next to be in line for a significant quake. But who’s to say where the next one will strike. And unfortunately our neighbors out there have significant infrastructures, like hospitals, transportation routes, etc., built right on or near the fault. So have you started to prepare your family members, or, at least, put together a GoBag for each one?

You probably know that the UC Berkeley Stadium is built right on the fault.  Yeah, I know that a new and stronger stadium is being built, but,......not to burst your bubble, even structures built to withstand a major 8.0 earthquake can collapse, or at least sustain significant damage on the insides, such as, floors, windows, stairways, internal walls, etc.  And I’m not even talking about any bulky, tall furniture items that can fall over and dump their stuff on your heads.  Have you put those safety locks on the kitchen cabinets, yet? Things tend to fly out and add to your worries of injuries.  It’s a good time to go through your preparedness checklist to see what else needs to be done or just revise what your already have in place.  Check out the ‘Disaster Toolbox’ section, if you haven’t already.

Let’s see, our fire season has been pretty minimal unlike what has been happening in other states.  Thank the higher powers that our fire season is over now.  Back East the North Eastern has dropped record-setting snow back in October.  And they’re still digging out, not to mention major power outages still being experienced in the area.  Have you checked out the ‘Power Loss’ section!  And yet again, Japan has been struck by another earthquake.  A strong 6.8 struck in the waters off Okinawa Island recently.  There were no concerns about a tsunami, though.  To date no injuries or damages were reported.  Phew,....remember 22,000 people were left dead or missising by that devastating tsunami on March 11.

As the days, and months and years move on, the percentages of a major shift in the earth actually happening ever increases.  I believe the US Geological Survey still holds to 67% within the next 30 years.  Rather than panic and worry, those events should be a good trigger to get us to look at what we have done to prepare ourselves.  Remember in the first seventy-two hours we are practically on our own.  Major earthquakes don’t bypass our hospitals and public safety agencies.  They become victims, too.  So it is important to get to know your neighbors.  Who do you have around you that can help out in a pinch?  Me, D’Guru, has… Amateur Radio expert who has all the communications tools and contacts to keep my street “in the know”;  a nurse; a firefighter and willing neighbors to pull together for a good cause.  Even if it’s just to keep the unwanted elements, like vandal graffiti gang members, from tagging our private homes, keeping in touch with your neighbors helps to maintain your neighborhood safer and a bit more clean.

So what should you have in your disaster supplies.  Well, just to get started, do you have a large plastic container that can withstand any weather.  Where you store it is another article for discussion. Many people here in the City are limited by space; not to mention a large number of us live in apartments or condos, and most residences are built above the garages, known as “soft-storied” structures.  Presents a challenge for us Urban Dwellers! The experts recommend a large plastic garbage can with a lid that snaps shut.  It’s not a bad idea to have wheels on it for easy mobility. 

Just to list categories that should be part of this container of disaster supplies, check out ‘Neighborhood News’ for a more detailed list.  The categories you should consider include items for:
  - Food and Water
  - Personal Health and Safety
  - Sanitation
  - Communications
  - Tools and Cleanup
  - Children and Infants
  - Pets

Also, training is a critical step in getting you prepared, but we have to weigh that against the limited time we have in our busy lives.  I put a blurb on NERT that is San Francisco’s way of getting our neighborhoods up and ready.

Don’t forget to come back for more. is still under construction, so I apologize for any delays.

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