It’s easy to talk about disaster preparedness. Well, if would be easy if I could talk. Anyway, at RJWestmore, Inc., we like to walk the talk. One example of the way we practice what we preach is our participation in the 2010 Great California ShakeOut, which was recognized by Cal EMA and the Earthquake Country Alliance. We were in good company, as some 7.9 million people (and who knows how many dogs) actively participated in the 2010 event.
The 2011 ShakeOut will be held on October 20th, 2011 at 10:20 in the morning! So mark your calendars today! Why are we talking about an event that is six months away? Because earthquakes can happen at any time and often without advance warning. So, to limit loss of life and property, planning ahead is paramount to safety. We want to make sure we give you plenty of notice so you will participate in the next ShakeOut.
Unfortunately, much of the latest information about best practices to deal with earthquakes comes from past incidents. Despite the tragedy in terms of lives lost, it is important to take a review of actual disasters (such as the recent Japan quake), to prepare for the inevitability of future earthquake-related events:
- Information sharing is critical. Some Japanese agencies received criticism for the slow spread of information relative to the depth of damage to infrastructure, particularly concerning the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. I stand by my assertion that the best solution for quickly sharing information is the Twilight Bark!
- Tsunami and earthquake damage are under review by teams from several countries. The sheer scale of the disaster makes it an obvious example of a worst-case scenario, where individuals on top of four-story buildings were not even afforded safety. Groups from the United States are examining the types of buildings that did or did not escape the tsunami unscathed. The research could lead to drastic changes in building codes and provide opportunities for better safety in the future.
- Scientists use data from the Japan quake to examine similarities in other geographic regions. Researchers are closely reviewing the Pacific Northwest of the United States which is in a similar subduction zone to Japan. Further review will allow better future placement of tsunami offshore beacons and will likely lead to changes in building strategies as well as warning systems.
- In California, greater emphasis is placed on events like the ShakeOut because the desire to mine earthquake preparedness knowledge is so intense. Many large California cities have avoided a massive earthquake for more than a century. And renewed vigilance is important to recognize the threat posed by a quake.
In the disaster planning field, unfortunately, actual disasters are often the most useful for emergency training. For example, large-scale tragedies have lead to analyzing and revamping of building codes and emergency procedures, which have greatly reduced destruction during subsequent disasters. The same is true for potty-training puppies, by the way. So, when educational opportunities such as the ShakeOut arise, make sure you avail yourself of safe opportunities to learn.
Proper planning and learning the “Do’s” are the keys to managing the situation when disasters strike. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJ Westmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.