Chicken Little: The Ground Will Rumble

Marshfield, Oregon (now Coos Bay) circa 1920

Marshfield, Oregon (now Coos Bay) circa 1920 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, most of my family is from Coos County and boy do they find me annoying. I swear I can start a conversation about how so and so’s son is doing on Varsity basketball and quickly steer the conversation to “Did you know the Tsunami wave will reach all the way to Mingus Park and Blossom Gulch?” I know they get off the phone with me, shake their head, and say “she is at it again.” I can’t help it. This earthquake is looming in the distance and no one has a clue when it will strike. This scares me to death.

I have so many family members down in Coos Bay, let alone worrying about my own kids here in Portland, and I feel this topic is worth discussing. I especially find it disturbing that scientists are saying that the quakes that are occurring offshore in the 5.0-6.0 range are a sign of a megathrust quake in the future — where it might be sooner rather than later. I used to think that these small quakes were a good thing because it is releasing energy by taking pressure off of the fault. Not so according to one study issued by the State of Oregon. That’s unfortunately a myth.

So, I continue to plague my family gatherings with, “so do you have a gallon of water per person, per day for over a week…. and how are you with supplies.” (Cue their eye roll) I only do this because I care so deeply about their safety and I need to focus on my own family and I want the peace of mind knowing that my family and friends are safe.

My advice to all in the Northwest. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. (a gallon of water, per person, per day for over a week… and don’t forget about your pets, they need water too)

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A Prediction of 10,000 deaths in the Northwest

I read a study recently discussed on KGW which stated scientists estimate 10,000 people in the Northwest will perish from this megaquake…. this gives me chills. I’m not an overly religious person but I actually catch myself saying a little prayer that my children are not among the casualties. I really, really pray they always remain safe and this earthquake doesn’t occur in their (very long) lifetime.

Unfortunately, I can see this large body count happening after growing up along the coast. The news of the earthquake is a slap in the face and many live in denial. I feel there was almost a false sense of security that “we live God’s country” – we don’t have tornadoes (BTW, I read that one did touchdown in Coos County about 30 plus years ago), no hurricanes (OK, we will not count the Columbus Day storm, where winds at Cape Blanco were well over 145 mph), no black widow spiders (we have the Hobo Spider and they are nasty little suckers), but all in all…. it’s a pretty tame environment or at least so I thought.

Many residents may think that they can muscle through this event, which they may and I hope they do, but without knowing where is safe and where landslides

English: Damage from the Columbus Day Storm of...

English: Damage from the Columbus Day Storm of 1962 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

may occur, how can you truly be safe?

I implore anyone living along the coasts of Washington and Oregon… know the path of a tsunami whether it’s from a local earthquake or a distant one. (The paths may vary depending on the location of the seismic activity) It will surprise you.

Have a plan and execute it flawlessly.

Evacuation Maps:

Oregon

http://www.oregongeology.com/sub/earthquakes/coastal/Tsubrochures.htm

Washington

Click to access ger_tsunami_inundation_maps.pdf

KGW Article:

http://www.kgw.com/home/Report-makes-chilling-forecast-on-NW-quake-198444741.html

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Natural Gas: How do you shut it off?

I read about the problems with Hurricane Sandy and the aftermath from the 2011 Japanese quake and there was a common theme… fire. I was scratching my head… how does a fire occur when you have pouring down hurricane force wind & rain and tsunami flooded city streets…. natural gas lines.

Growing up in Coos Bay, this is something that you didn’t have to worry about. No one had natural gas and then I moved to Portland…. where everyone does. So the question remains, how do I shut off my gas line after 4 minutes of severe shaking… both the ground and my knees. After ensuring your family is safe, head straight to the natural gas line and shut it off.

I recently had a service call concerning our furnace and I immediately asked for a tutorial about how to shut off the gas

English: Natural gas burning

English: Natural gas burning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

in the event of a large earthquake. He took me to the side of the house and showed me the switch (I advise everyone to ask an HVAC technician and or someone from your local gas company to show you how). There will be no white hat utility people to the rescue with a large earthquake and you will need to take matters into your own hands. Get a vice grip and turn the switch… and ask your neighbors to do the same. Their gas line being shut off after an earthquake is just as important as your own home. You don’t want their house to burn, since it is your neighbor and you care, but because you also don’t want it to ignite your  home.

During my last service call, the tech told me about the emergency shut off valve for gas lines. This will automatically shut off your gas line when the ground begins to shake — which sounds amazing because that will be one less thing on my “to do” list after a large earthquake.

I am not endorsed by this company but I am looking into getting this installed at my home. (Is it rude to ask my neighbor to do the same?)

Gas Shut Off Valves:

http://www.earthquakestore.com/shutoff-valves.html

Emergency Tips from Portland General Electric:

http://www.pge.com/en/myhome/edusafety/naturaldisaster/earthquake/gasshutoff/index.page

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The L Bracket, My friend

I am a mom and I’m always looking for ways to improve the safety of my home to ensure that my kiddos are kept safe and sound. I recently went to my favorite home improvement box store and discovered the L bracket. I initially purchased and installed them after reading a viral blog (a heart wrenching post about a mom who lost her little girl to a small dresser that fell on the 3 year old) — after securing various pieces of furniture in my kids’ rooms I realized that these lovely brackets may be helpful in minimizing my large furniture from becoming projectiles during a large earthquake. In fact, I just made arrangements for a handyman  to install them in various areas of my home in an attempt to keep my family a little safer (that is if we are home when this hits).

I am even considering violating some antiques with this bracket – these older pieces are heavy and dangerous if they become tossed about.

Home Cinema

Home Cinema (Photo credit: Grant Mitchell)

L Brackets (and this is not an endorsement of any product):

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/catalog/servlet/Search?keyword=l+brackets

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