Earthquake Insurance, is it worth it?

Here’s an interesting article out of Alaska discussing whether earthquake insurance is actually worth it.

I wasn’t certain how the underwriting worked and it appears that most deductibles are a percentage of the value of your home and they only pay out for large scale disasters instead of minor earthquake
damage.

This information really makes you appreciate FEMA cascadia earthquakeand their role in getting communities back on their feet after a natural disaster.

As always, consult with your insurance agent for more information.

Earthquake Insurance Article

Cascadia Earthquake: The Northwest Is Abuzz

The northwest has been abuzz since the New Yorker recently published a cautionary tale about the “Big One” looming off the shores of Oregon and Washington. The amazing 6,000 word article was terrifying and an affirmation of what I have learned about this fault line googling late at night over the last seven years.

I have been fascinated by the response in news groups throughout the northwest.   I am pleased with some of the response from coastal communities who were initially living in denial when I began talking about this in 2008 – now most have taken steps to prepare for an earthquake. I love that, especially since most of my family is near the inundation zone on the southern Oregon coast.

Many of the “PNW Newbies,” those who have relocated to the Northwest just learned about our “dirty little secret” and some are paralyzed with fear. I feel bad for most of these northwest residents, many of whom are parents, and don’t know where to begin.

I am happy to see the New Yorker published a follow-up that clarifies some of the hyperbole originating from a FEMA director and it also adds tips for preparing for a 9.0 earthquake.

If you are looking for ways to prepare and where to start… baby steps. Don’t be overwhelmed by this – you need to start somewhere. Divide & conquer.

I will begin putting together lists and featuring what’s in our homemade “Grab & Go” kits.

Just start right now. Make lists. You can do this.

Go.

New Yorker follow up article:
http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/how-to-stay-safe-when-the-big-one-comes?mbid=social_facebook

Take Control of Your Family Memories Before Disaster Strikes

Damage from the 1900 Galveston hurricane, the ...

Damage from the 1900 Galveston hurricane, the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history, was extensive. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Something to consider…. Have you ever taken a moment and asked yourself – what happens if I’m a victim of a natural disaster… whether it’s a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, fire, flood… or whatever…. Have you considered what would happen to my personal mementos? The ones that are irreplaceable?

 

I had never considered this until I heard a colleague complain about a virus that wiped away his operating system and all of his files. This includes photos from his daughter’s first year of life. That had my attention. I love my kids and my photos and memories of my family are irreplaceable to me.

 

In the wake of any natural disaster you will see the heartbreaking images of people sifting through debris trying to look for pieces of memories…How can you avoid this from happening to you?

 

My answer: A third party digital storage site.

 

I have my photos scanned (for the older ones) and backed up but I also have them duplicated on a large third party vendor (who shall remain nameless – I am not about endorsements) so in the event of a natural disaster, such as a large earthquake, I have my photos and scans of my children’s artwork preserved electronically on a server in some other state.

 

I really grappled with putting the images on their servers because there is a question of ownership and privacy… but you can put the images to “private” for your use only. I also don’t buy into the conspiracy that the large “storage” companies are trying to steal your images for their own copyright.

 

What do I recommend? Find what works for you.

 

There are large services that provide cloud drives for free (up to a certain amount of storage space) and then there is the annual fee for larger quantities in the even you take many photos of family and friends. Read the terms and conditions and look up customer reviews for the service before you decide.

 

Ok, I know I said I don’t like to mention companies…. But I will mention this one (no money or endorsement fee was exchanged here)… if you have many older family photos before digital was mainstream… try ScanMyPhotos.com (http://www.scanmyphotos.com/) . I sent them a few boxes of photos (probably 1K+ and they sent me back the originals neatly packed and a disk with everything scanned… Love this service.)

 

Prepare for the worst and hope for the best… but please save those images and back them up. It may take some set up time but in the event of an emergency… I promise you will either wish you had or be glad that you did.

 

Take control of your family archives before disaster strikes.

 

Be safe.

 

 

 

 

 

Water Heaters: When the Earth Shakes it’s a 600 lb Missile Sitting in Your Garage

Water heater sm

Water heater sm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This may sound dramatic which I am at times (just ask my husband about my infamous hyperbole over the years) but we are all sitting on a potential 600 pound “Missile” in our homes. A full size water heater can be extremely dangerous if it’s not anchored when a megathrust earthquake hits.

In fact, according to the State of Oregon Building Codes Division: “The water heater seismic strapping requirements and applicableseismic zones have changed with the adoption of the new codes. Now all water heaters under the 2005 Oregon Plumbing Specialty Code statewide must be strapped. Water heaters installed in buildings within the scope of the 2005 Oregon Residential Specialty Code are required to be strapped in all counties in the state except the following: Wasco, Jefferson, Deschutes, Crook, Sherman, Wheeler, Gilliam, Marrow, Grant, Harney, Umatilla, Union, Baker, Malheur and Wallowa.”

Sample Product (this is not an endorsement, I just pulled the top ranking site that popped up on Google):

http://reviews.homedepot.com/1999/100067210/10-3-in-w-x-13-2-in-d-x-2-in-h-galvanized-steel-water-heater-earthquake-restraining-straps-reviews/reviews.htm

I urge everyone to anchor their water heaters before the big one hits, however, I have to add this story that I happen to find very interesting, ironic, sad, whatever… you decide.  We had our water heater replaced and I was informed by the plumber that I need to anchor it down. Not a problem. I went to… now I dislike using store names but I am going to do it this once since I know this large company (like the company I work for) has a listening tool and Google Alerts set to notify their Marketing team back at their headquarters when their brand is referenced online and I want them to see their “logic” at work. OK, so I went to Lowes in Tigard and I asked for an earthquake restraining strap. The clerk on the West side of Portland told me that they don’t have any in this particular store. I was puzzled. She then proceeded to tell me that earthquake straps are available on the East side of the Willamettte River. Huh? I countered that the subduction zone is off the Oregon coast and last time I checked the Pacific is to the west of the Willamette. In fact, the west side of Portland is probably a bit more vulnerable due to the additional proximity to the fault. The clerk nodded and agreed but then she said “try explaining this to our distribution center in North Carolina. In their mind the only thing threatening our area in Mt. Saint Helens.” Really?!? That’s just so…. 1980. So Lowes Companies, Inc. (I am really trying to hit their alerts now) will you please advise your distribution center that seismic straps need to be distributed to ALL of your Portland stores?!?

And, since Home Depot being another large corporation has alerts set up for their competitors (I know this because our company does this) as well, Hi Home Depot, can you please check to ensure that all of your Oregon & Washington stores carry this strap vs. only having it in one store for a silly reason like Lowes… Thanks.

Reference Link:

Click to access Int100.pdf

The Sixth Sense: I Can Hear Earthquakes (seriously)

No seriously… I can. It’s completely bizarre and I won’t promise that it’s for every earthquake but while I lived in California I could hear them coming. It was bizarre. The first time I heard an earthquake it sounded like a large Semi roaring through my quiet neighborhood — 30 seconds later the house would shake.

Initially it freaked me out but then it became a parlor trick.

In 2003 we had a series of small earthquakes that would rattle the house and my boyfriend at the time would be sitting in our living room with another Turkish friend and I would pass through the room saying “Earthquake” – 30 seconds later the house would shake. (I am completely serious…) They would frantically look at each other and I would return to the room and tell them I was a witch.

I could be, but I highly doubt it. It was fun watching them question and worry about it.

I have read about other people hearing the loud Semi truck roaring before an earthquake hits so I don’t feel like I am all alone on this one.

At most, “touched” individuals (I love this expression) could predict a quake was coming 30 seconds prior but nothing more. So who knows if my skills remain in tact but I sure hope I don’t hear a Semi truck any time soon.

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English: A picture of the 2004 tsunami in Ao N...

English: A picture of the 2004 tsunami in Ao Nang, Krabi Province, Thailand. Français : Image montrant le raz-de-marée de 2004 à Ao Nang, en Thaïlande. Italiano: Una fotografia del maremoto dell’Oceano Indiano ad Ao Nang, in Tailandia. Español: Imagen del terremoto del Océano Índico de 2004 en Ao Nang, Tailandia. മലയാളം: 2004-ൽ ഇന്ത്യൻ മഹാസമുദ്രത്തിൽ ഉണ്ടായ സുനാമി, തായ്‌ലാന്റിലെ ആവോ നാങിൽ നിന്നുള്ള ചിത്രം. Myanmasa: ဆူနာမီ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)