Why Prepare?

THINGS WE PREPARE FOR:  Camping.  Retirement.  Traveling.

THINGS WE DON’T PREPARE FOR:  Earthquakes

Why is that?  Could it be the classic syndromes of: “out of sight, out of mind”; “That can’t happen here!”; or, “If it’s going to be so big, we won’t survive anyway, so why prepare?”

I think this is one of the biggest disservices people can do to themselves.  Why?  I’ll elaborate on the analogy above:

When you go camping, you plan ahead, sometimes for weeks before your trip.  Get the tent, camper, or RV cleaned and repaired if needed, tune up the truck, stage the ax, shovels, charcoal or firewood, rope, tarps, towels, extra clothes, water, food, get the sleeping bags and air mattresses, any medications you might need, cooking gear, plates, cups, coffee maker, etc….  If you’re hunting, your guns, ammo, and other hunting gear.  You go prepared. Continue Reading →

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Anatomy Of An Earthquake & Tsunami

March 26, 2011.  2:46 PM local time.  Location is 62 miles off the northern shore of the Island of Honshu, Japan, and nineteen miles beneath the earth’s surface.  The tension between the massive Pacific Plate and the colossal North American plate (this is not a typo – see the Tectonic Plate Map here) is at its breaking point.  The Pacific Plate, with its slow, arduous friction filled movements, is sliding at its slow, three inch per year struggle, under the North American plate, has been building up tension against its inhibiting neighbor for centuries.  The bulge in North American plate has been developing over time from the growing intensity of this pent up energy. Continue Reading →

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Is Portland The Next Christchurch?

Scientists, geologists, politicians, and just about every one else in between have been highly focused on the Cascadia Subduction Zone for the past several years – and rightly so.  It poses a tremendous risk to the well being of the Pacific Northwest.  But lurking right beneath our own feet here in the Portland area, are the makings of damage that would make Hollywood envious.  The Rose City, with its mass of aging bridges, skylines, and infrastructure, is built on several faults that can not be overlooked for the magnitude of destruction they have the potential to mete upon this beautiful city of ours.  These are relatively shallow faults, known as crustal faults or Strike – slip faults.   Continue Reading →

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What Is An Earthquake?

Raise your hands….  who here has (consciously) been through an earthquake.  Okay, one that really shook the place – not one that is reported two days later and you say, “oh, yeah”, but one that you know you’re in an earthquake.  Things are popping, shaking, and rattling.  Okay, so quite a few of you.  One moment, everything in the world is fine, the birds are singing, the sky is blue, the ground is solid.  The next moment, the very ground that was solid before is shaking and moving violently, taking away all perception of normalcy.  For seemingly endless moments, there is no safe haven.   Pretty nerve racking isn’t it?  No, actually outright terrifying, especially if you are near the epicenter.  An earthquake…. Continue Reading →

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San Andreas Fault VS Cascadia Subduction Zone

With the recent release of the hit blockbuster movie, San Andreas, there has been some discussion in the media about the reality of the movie and if any of it could actually happen.  Since its release on May 29th, news outlets around the country have been interviewing geologists and seismic experts to get to the bottom of the movie’s mega quake portrayal. Continue Reading →

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Can Animals Sense a Pending Earthquake?

Seems that this is a question for the ages as known history’s first broaching of this question came up after a significant earthquake in Greece in the year 373 BC.  Folk lore and written history both indicate that rats, weasels, snakes, and centipedes all made tracks for the proverbial hills several days before an earthquake struck the region.  Anecdotal evidence exists about animals of all sorts – even fish, insects, and reptiles acting strangely anywhere from days to seconds before an earthquake occurs.  Is it coincidence or is there something to this?  Continue Reading →

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Why Retrofit Your Home??

It’s more than just a rhetorical question, it’s one that a lot of folks are probably wondering.  Why front three or four thousand bucks, or more, to have some strangers work on your home; work, that may or may not have any beneficial purpose in our lifetime?  Think about it.  You’re going to write a check to someone for a whole lot of money, for them to invade your home anywhere from a couple of days to more than a week, depending on the scope of work required, make a lot of noise, create a big mess (that, by-the-way, will be cleaned up….), all for something that provides no visual stimulation, curb appeal, or immediate gratification or satisfaction.  Continue Reading →

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What Is BEECN?

In 2012, impressed by similar emergency preparedness / response programs he had seen in the Seattle area, former Portland mayor, Sam Adams, implemented the BEECN Program in the Portland area, part of PBEM – Portland Bureau of Emergency Management.  What does BEECN stand for?   Basic Earthquake Emergency Communication Node – pronounced, BEACON.   Continue Reading →

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What’s In Your Disaster Preparation Kit?

If there’s anything that I’ve learned living in the PNW for the last forty two years, it’s that no matter how prepared you think you are, it’s never really quite good enough.  Camping in mid summer, only to find evening temps can drop to close to freezing.  Snow falling in the mountains as late as the end of July.  Rain in August.  Sun in January.  Floods.  Freezes.  Droughts.   Heat waves.  Have you ever been caught off guard, and unprepared by nature?  Continue Reading →

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Nepal Earthquake And What We Can Learn From It

It has been ten days since the devastating earthquake in Nepal.  The country is still recovering from the initial shock of the massive earthquake and the more than eighty aftershocks.  Like in all earthquakes, the destruction was not far reaching and had no demographic confines or preferences.  Temples, homes, businesses, and infrastructure alike, all suffered partial or total destruction.  And, like all other earthquakes around the globe, there was no warning.  Continue Reading →

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