Friday, July 17, 2015

FEMA - West of I-5 will be toast

I feel the earth move
under my feet
   - Carol  King
Fall mountains fall
Just don't fall on me
     -Jim Hendrix
       After all this talk about slow moving catastrophes, maybe it's time to change the pace a bit.   The New Yorker Magazine has a nice article about Cascadia subduction zone earthquakes.  Here   Here's the Oregonian's spin.  Here's  some good advice from OPB's "unprepared" series
       These earthquakes occur with some regularity in our region, and based on history,we are due,  actually over due by about 70 years.   As I understand it, being overdue could mean that the pent up pressure will be greater when it finally happens. Here's one assessment. 
" Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA’s Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, says, “Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast."
Not only will buildings and bridges fall down, there is a tsunami up to 50 feet high.  The result will be horrific
"FEMA projects that nearly thirteen thousand people will die in the Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. Another twenty-seven thousand people will die in the Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. Another twenty-seven thousand will be injured, and the agency expects that it will need to provide shelter for a million displaced people, and food and water for another two and a half million. “This is one time that I’m hoping all the science is wrong, and it won’t happen for another thousand years,” Murphy says.
   Unlike climate change, there is nothing we can do to prevent this disaster.   This one is all about " adaptstion",   which in this case means making your self, your family and your neighbors as resilient as possible.   
   We are all used to the occasional winter storm that knocks out the power, and makes transportation impossible.   Time break out the candles and flashlights.   Maybe the Coleman stove.   That's fine for a day or so, but how about a week?  Or two?    How about a month or two?
"...estimates that in the I-5 corridor it will take between one and three months after the earthquake to restore electricity, a month to a year to restore drinking water and sewer service, six months to a year to restore major highways, and eighteen months to restore health-care facilities. On the coast, those numbers go up. Whoever chooses or has no choice but to stay there will spend three to six months without electricity, one to three years without drinking water and sewage systems, and three or more years without hospitals. Those estimates do not apply to the tsunami-inundation zone, which will remain all but uninhabitable for year.
Of course emergency response will be be different in different locations.  Its likely that food water and services will be delivered to cities first. 
Here's some ideas for your emergency kit.  Note that it is only for 72 hours.   You may want to consider a longer period of time.   This may be a big emergency.   Bigger than Katrina and Sandy combined.  You may want to consider how long it will take for help to arrive.   Here are some reviews of how FEMA and the Red Cross handled prior emergencies..  Here  here and here
        Remember - in an emergency YOU are the first responder.

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