Sunday, July 3, 2011

Earthquake preparedness

My neighbors Ness and Arash Farahmand at the neighborhood get-together.
The terrible events in eastern Japan in March prompted my neighborhood to get more serious about the likelihood of an earthquake closer to home. On 12 June, people gathered in one of our backyards for a party hosted by Debra Barnes and Kathleen Dolan. There was a mercifully short rundown of our to-do list, the immediate aim of which is to secure a city-donated cache of tools and supplies. All of us in 94708 live in the shadow of the Hayward fault, which runs north-south along Euclid Avenue. There hasn't been a major earthquake on the fault since the 1860s, which means we're overdue. A sharp tremor a while back gave me a sense of how this might go: it was as if a giant were shaking the house. A couple minutes of that would definitely make a mess! That experience prompted us to rebuild our foundation. We joke about laying in some gin against the possibility of "a big one," but in reality, it's worth taking seriously. The rule of thumb is three days' worth of supplies, but I would bet it will be a week or two, in reality. I don't think the powers that be are very well prepared, either.

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