Are You Prepared for Earthquakes?

After living through several very strong earthquakes in another country, I learned to be prepared. Here in Vancouver, I see that people are not at all prepared to face a big quake, which will happen sooner or later.

I am interested to know if any of you have an emergency plan, covering different scenarios in the event of a major earthquake. Does your family know what to do, where to meet if going home is not an option? Are you aware of the fact that bridges and overpasses may collapse, stranding family members in different parts of the city. Electricity may be out, there could be gas leaks and explosions. Are you prepared to be on your own for the first few days?

After the 1985 earthquakes in Mexico City, citizens were on their own for 3 full days before the authorities were able to begin responding.

I do have a plan, my family and I rehearse the different scenarios regularly. I have tried to interest my neighbours and coworkers in a coordinated emergency plan, but nobody seems to share my concern. Any comments?
I guess if an earthquake has never hit that area then people are not going to be concerned. I'm not concerned.
Reverend Blair
I live in Manitoba, so I'm not concerned at all. After yesterday and the day before I'm a little worried about tornadoes though.
I think not
Tornados in Manitoba? Aren't you a bit too north for that?
Reverend Blair
We usually get a couple a year. They are usually small. The last couple days there have been warnings all over the southern half of the province. Yesterday there was even one Dauphin/Ste. Rose du Lac. That's far enough north that they never get them.
I think not
I remember living in Athens, Greece in 1981. They had a 6.8 earthquake, although there were rumors that it was higher than 7 and the government didn't say anything because by law they would be required to pay all the damages . Anyways.

It was around 10pm, I rememeber sitting on a balcony on the 8th floor. Oy vey, I'm lucky to be alive, dam thing almost flung me over. A couple of things I noticed just before the quake hit, you would hear dogs barking and cats running around in a panic and despite that, this spooky silence in the air.

The thing that struck me most is watching the street move up and down like it was a bowl of jello.

No I'm not prepared and one for me is one too many thank you very much.
Just because it has never happened here does not mean it won't. In fact, sooner or later, there WILL be a big one, and this city is terribly unprepared. I guess I am inclined to prepare because I lived through a very big one that killed tens of thousands of people.

Coastal BC is vulnerable. Many of the schools are likely to crumble in a quake of 7+ magnitude. I shudder to think what could happen in downtown Vancouver, St. Paul's hospital, and some of the bridges and overpasses.

People assume that if something like this happens, the authorities will take care of everything. The reality is that in a very big event, the authorities may not be able to reach everyone that needs help.

One of the things that impressed me the most in Mexico City was the way that the people came together to deal with the crisis in the immediate aftermath.

Idon't want to be alarmist, but the chances of something like this happening here are quite good, and I wish people were more aware of the threat and more prepared to deal with it if and when it occurs.
Ten Packs
My Wife and I moved away from Damncouver in '72 and raised a family in the Thompson/Okanagan. Wouldn'tcha know? Both boys are living there now. (*sigh*)
Honestly, not really. I should be though. I was thinking of building a multi purpose shelter.........
Reverend Blair
I was thinking of building a shed. Actually, I've been thinking about it for so long that Mrs. Rev calls it the imaginary shed. Now I can tell her I'm trying to figure out how to make it earthquake-proof.
I plan on paddling away in a kayak when the big one comes But I am prepared ted, if one can be, for the big one. Although I think those emergency preparedness kits are way to expensive, someone is making lots of $$$$ off them.
I plan on moving into a steel-reinforced box buried underground. When that big one comes I'll barely notice it.
I plan on setting up my lawn chair and watching the west coast fall into the ocean :P If I'm lucky my property will become ocean front :P
Yes and maybe a big killer whale will come and snap you up on that lawn chair mom...or maybe a giant architeuthis

The French dispatch steamer Alecton was cruising off the Canary Islands late in November of 1861 when its crew spotted something unusual in the water. It looked like a large sea monster with many arms and a long tail. The gunboat, firing cannon and musket at the strange apparition, pursed it until they could get close enough to throw harpoons into it's body. The harpoons wouldn't stay in the flesh for long, but finally the crew managed to get a noose around the tail of the monster. As they tried to pull the thing aboard, the rope tightened and cut though the animal. Most of the creature sank into the sea, but the ship's captain, decided to take the tail of the thing back to the French Consul at Tenerife. From there the tail, and a report about the creature, made its way to the French Academy of Sciences.

At the Academy the report was widely ridiculed. No serious scientist could believe in such a creature. As one member said, It was against the laws of nature.

Against the laws of nature or not, the creature seen by the Alecton's crew did exist. Today we call it the giant squid.

The existence of the giant squid, genus Architeuthis, is well accepted by science though few have ever been seen, and little is known about their habits.

Giant squid are carnivorous mollusks that have a long, torpedo shaped body. At one end, surrounding a beak-like mouth strong enough to cut through steel cable, are five pairs of arms. One pair, thinner and longer than the rest, are used to catch food and bring it to the mouth. Just past the mouth are the eyes. Eyes that are the largest in the animal kingdom, getting as big as eighteen inches across

All squid move through the ocean using a jet of water forced out of the body by a siphon. They eat fish, other squid, and perhaps some argue, in the case of the largest species, whales. The legend of the Kraken, a many armed sea monster that could pull a whole ship under, may have been based on the giant squid.

The largest giant squid ever measured was discovered at Timble Tickle on November 2, 1878. Three fisherman were working not far off shore when they noticed a mass floating on the ocean they took to be wreckage. They investigated and found a giant squid had run aground. Using their anchor as a grappling hook they snagged the still living body and made it fast to a tree. When the tide went out the creature was left high and dry. When the animal died, the fishermen measured it and then chopped it up for dog meat. The body of the squid was twenty feet from tail to beak. The longer tentacles measured thirty five feet and were tipped with four inch suckers.

We know the giant squid tangles with whales from eye-witness accounts. In October 1966, two lighthouse keepers at Danger Point, South Africa, observed a baby southern right whale under attack from a giant squid. For an hour and a half the monster clung to the whale trying to drown it as the whale's mother watched helplessly. "The little whale could stay down for 10 to 12 minutes, then come up. It would just have enough time to spout - only two or three seconds - and then down again." The squid finally won and the baby whale was never seen again.

Giant Squid have been seen in battle with adult whales too. In 1965, a Soviet whaler watched a battle between a squid and a 40 ton sperm whale. In this case neither were victorious. The strangled whale was found floating in the sea with the squid's tentacles wrapped around the whale's throat. The squid's severed head was found in the whale's stomach.

Sperm whales eat squid and originally it had been thought that such battles were the result of a sperm whale taking on a squid that was just too large to be an easy meal. The incident with the Brunswick might suggest otherwise.

The Brunswick was a 15,000 ton auxiliary tanker owned by the Royal Norwegian Navy. In the 1930's it was attacked at least three times by giant squid. In each case the attack was deliberate as the squid would pull along side of the ship, pace it, then suddenly turn, run into the ship and wrap it's tentacles around the hull. The encounters were fatal for the squid. Since the animal was unable to get a good grip on the ship's steel surface, the animals slid off and fell into the ship's propellers.

Perhaps, for some unknown reason, the Brunswick looked like a whale to the squids. This might suggest that the sperm whale is not always the aggressor in the battles. In fact, though many sperm whales have been captured, few of their stomachs seemed to contain parts of giant squids (though smaller squids seem to provide a large portion of the sperm whale's diet)

Unfortunately for scientists, but good for the rest of us, humans do not meet up with giant squids very often. (There is at least one report from World War II of survivors of a sunken ship being attacked by a giant squid that ate one of the party) Squids are thought to be deep dwelling, open sea creatures. Work by Dr. Ole Brix, of the University of Bergen, indicates the blood of squids does not carry oxygen very well at higher temperatures. A squid might actually suffocate in warm water.

According to Dr. Malcom Clarke, of the Marine Biological Association , temperature also seems to affect the squid's buoyancy mechanism. Warm water will cause a giant squid to rise to the surface and not be able to get back down. With water temperature even higher at the surface, the squid maybe doomed. It is not surprising then, that most squid groundings occur near where two ocean streams, one cold and one warm, meet. Perhaps the squid found himself suddenly in water too warm for him.

Despite numerous attempts nobody has ever seen a giant squid in the deep sea, so it is very hard for scientists to know much about how they live. One ambitious effort led by Clyde Roper in 1997 tried to capture pictures of a live squid in it's natural habitat by employing sperm whales. A "crittercam" was attached to the back of a whale with the lens looking in the same direction as the nose of the animal. It was hoped that when the whale went searching for it's dinner in the depths the camera might get a glimpse of its prey. The device was designed to detach from the whale after a couple hours and float to the surface where it could be picked up and the recording examined by the scientists. Unfortunately, while the camera captured some fascinating pictures of the whales, no giant squid was seen.

How big can a squid get? Estimates based on peices of carcasses found in the belly's of sperm whales range up to one hundred feet. One unconfirmed story, though, suggests they might get even larger. One night during World War II a British Admiralty trawler was lying off the Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean. One of the crew, A. G. Starkey, was up on deck, alone, fishing, when he saw something in the water:

"As I gazed, fascinated, a circle of green light glowed in my area of illumination. This green unwinking orb I suddenly realized was an eye. The surface of the water undulated with some strange disturbance. Gradually I realized that I was gazing at almost point-black range at a huge squid." Starkey walked the length the of the ship finding the tail at one end and the tentacles at the other. The ship was over one hundred and seventy five feet long.

Dam! I gots to see one for me self!!!!!
Yes I have my lawn chair and umbrella ready I can't wait to become ocean front property
Well I'll just have to get a bigger fishhing rod the one I have for the lake minnows just won't do :P
Quote: Originally Posted by mrmom2

Well I'll just have to get a bigger fishhing rod the one I have for the lake minnows just won't do :P

Hehehe yep higher test line too.
Well, we briefly had a tsunami warning the other day. It was issued four minutes before the ETA of a hypothetical tsunami on the coast of Vancouver Island. The local TV stations did not report it. Sirens in coastal communities failed to work, or could not be heard by everyone. This just goes to show that we ARE direly unprepared for this kind of thing, and the ostrich approach isn't going to help us if a real emergency should occur. Hopefully this will be a wake up call and the governments and people will start taking the threat seriously.
Reverend Blair
They said they were going to start taking the threat seriously after the Boxing Day Tsunami in Asia. They haven't. I doubt they are going to get any more serious about it now.
yup, we really are not prepared in any way, shape or form for the big one. our provincial emergency preparedness department did sweet nothing on the night of the ripper in california last week. we found out about it thru my sister in law in kelowna .... go figure that one out. god knows how much money we sink into this provincial organization that is suppose to save us. it was the same way during the snow storm last century. (love saying that!). again, they were to meet to form an action plan to plow us out, didn't happen. the local radio station had it together and the neighbours helped each other to get out of their driveways and check on the elderly in the community. the provincial emergency team couldn't get to the armories to help anyone and so it goes...... doubt it will be any different when the big guy comes along. plus - as my husband pointed out - our water supply and reservoirs are all located on the major fault line of vancouver island.
Im ready for ocean front property :P Let er rip :P
hey mom - just send out the life ring when we float by, okay?
make that two mom....heya mama...guess your all done with your project...a big hit...or so I have heard
I can do better than that I'll just pick you up with my boat
Quote: Originally Posted by Ted

Well, we briefly had a tsunami warning the other day. It was issued four minutes before the ETA of a hypothetical tsunami on the coast of Vancouver Island. The local TV stations did not report it. Sirens in coastal communities failed to work, or could not be heard by everyone. This just goes to show that we ARE direly unprepared for this kind of thing, and the ostrich approach isn't going to help us if a real emergency should occur. Hopefully this will be a wake up call and the governments and people will start taking the threat seriously.

I was amazed at the lack of info when that happened, Ted. We live right in James Bay on the 15th floor of a cement apartment building. From what I understand of tsunamis, we should have been pretty safe where we are, but it was impossible to get any information about what was going on. I checked the website and all it showed was that we were in one of the danger areas. No info on what to do or where to go.

I wonder if this lack of attention to the topic is because here on Vancouver Island we haven't got a hope in hell if the "big one" happens. I have a suspicion that no amount of preparedness is going to make a difference ... if (when?) it hits, we're just gonna sink and that's that. But perhaps that's cynical.

When we moved back to the Island we discussed the reality that we were moving into an earthquake zone. We decided we'd rather die happy in paradise than live miserably in the rest of our frozen country. To us, it's worth the risk. We both realize we're pretty much screwed if it happens, but decided it was worth it.
Cosmos your lucky you live in Victoria, it is protected from a tusumai, because of the peninsula. There will be a huge earthquate, maybe even tomarrow or maybe in a 100 years. (hopefully) The Juan de fuca plate is trying to slide under the continental plate. And I grew up in Port Alberni, and the tusumai that came down the alberni canal is a legend there. Everyone should have a emergency preparedness kit. Speaking of which, I recently bought a radio that operates on solar for my kit. Cosmos I think the next time the emergency prepardness comes to give a talk where I work, you should come and listen.....the good looking firemen will not really interest you tho
Hmmm ... none of the firemen are firewomen? What kinda place we running around here???

I dunno about being protected, Pea. I was looking at the website and while we wouldn't get the brunt of a tsunami, we'd still get some pretty nasty waves here in James Bay. The little "blue circle of danger" on the website showed it would flow into the strait.

But it's all a moot point. I am going to play ostrich and pretend it will never happen. I've never found being connected to realities like that have done anything but cause indigestion for me.

heya mama...guess your all done with your project...a big hit...or so I have heard Cool

yup, it was great. a lot of work but great. i am now planning my next attack to take place either this august or, 'cause it is quite involved, next august. downtown - either on the causeway in front of the inner harbour or at ships' point. whoo hooo!!!!
Haggis McBagpipe
Quote: Originally Posted by Cosmo

I was looking at the website and while we wouldn't get the brunt of a tsunami, we'd still get some pretty nasty waves here in James Bay.

I've read through the thread to find the website to which you refer but for the life of me I'm not seeing it (it is most likely right there in front of me, but that isn't always enough for my mind to comprehend). Could you post it again, please?
Is all of coastal BC vulnerable to tsunamis from a megathrust earthquake?
No. Just the coast exposed to the open Pacific is vulnerable to damaging tsunamis waves. The areas vulnerable to tsunamis are indicated in the red-tabbed pages of the telephone books published for the coastal communities of British Columbia.

James bay and victoria are not vunerable to tunsami's.

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