Those of us who live in earthquake country tend to relegate the fact down the list of things we ponder quite far–especially those of us who have taken care to become trained as Community Emergency Response volunteers and set up our stash of emergency gear.
A couple Fridays ago I was reading in bed when the room began to rock in a gentle manner. Perhaps twenty or thirty seconds of shaking drew out to seem ten times it true length, as occasions such as these tend to do. Most people who have experienced a quake will tell you the thing that immediately goes through their mind is, ‘Is this going to get worse?’ and ‘What do I duck beneath if need be?’ Actually far too many of us have the natural tendency to run outdoors which is exactly the wrong thing to do. One does not want to be near windows should they shatter, not crumbling brickwork.
Back to that volunteer training thing. One learns straight away that dropping beneath stout table or other furniture is the best place to survive and, post-quake, one is to find and care for one’s family first. Becoming a superhero might fly in films, but most of us need to be assured that those we love are okay before we are of any emotional good to face what might come in the event of a destructive quake.
Today’s top news in a seven point two quake in Mexico. This after a handful of other quakes reported in the last few weeks along the earth’s crust, ‘ring of fire’. All reminders that those of us lucky enough to call California and other cities along the ring of fire home must take readiness for the inevitable with all seriousness. I did not say ‘freak out’, ‘awfulize’, or ‘fear’. All areas of the world have natural occurrences that can threaten life and limb. Whether hurricane, wildfire, tornado, dust storm, drought, flood or earthquake–we humans need to educate ourselves and do what we can to prepare for any consequences of these natural disasters.
Developed in the San Francisco Bay area and originally called “N.E.R.T.” (Neighbourhood Emergency Response Team), this fire department led series of courses is invaluable in preparing those who wish to be of help to their families and others in a more detailed way, but everyone living in an area that provides this training could benefit greatly from its content. Preparing home emergency supplies, ‘go packs’ for each car, education about triage and the organizational structure of emergency personnel, basic search and rescue, and first aid are all covered within the content of this excellent series of classes.
F.E.M.A. has now become involved and is a good central place to learn more and locate local training: http://www.fema.gov/community-emergency-response-teams
CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. Should you be interested in this invaluable training, I highly recommend it.