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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Preparing for the Killer Quake (Because You Keep Asking About It)

Posted by Nathan Gilles on Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 12:59 PM


This seems to be the month for earthquakes.

About two hours ago, the US Geological Survey reported a 7.4 earthquake in the Mexican state of Guerrero. No major damage has been announced. Also, as many people remember, March 11 marked the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan. And of all this comes following the Mercury’s own apocalyptic earthquake scenario for Portland.

Of course, with disaster in the air, numerous people have asked: “What can I do to be more prepared?” They also asked, "Why didn't you include any of that stuff in your story?"

Well for starters, it’s true. We intentionally didn’t include that preparedness stuff in our story. As our editor, Steve, explained in a comment, “there have been plenty of articles beforehand that have laid out exactly what you should do.” But for those of you who are still hungry to know—or too lazy or hopelessly fatalistic to do your own research—I will refer you to a pretty good Portland Occupier post written by volunteer emergency responder Jeremy O’Leary.

In his piece, O’Leary talks about how Portland’s sustainability ethic could inform our response to the “Big One.”

Having very well-insulated houses, rain water catchment systems, bicycles, vegetable gardens, fruit & nut trees, greenhouses, alternative energy… are all, or could be extremely effective in the recovery phase after a disaster. The wrinkle is that we need to be thinking through all of these in the context of a disaster.

His piece also links to a number of other helpful get-ready-for-disaster sites.

Of course there is nothing for schmucks like me who live in unreinforced “killer” masonry buildings without backyards. But I will let that slide.

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