Most folks have neither the time nor the inclination to read a lot of books on emergency preparedness and will have to pick just one or two, so I plan to review a few of the ones that I’ve read to help you choose wisely. Let me warn you up front: My usual recommendation will be not to read the book, simply because I understand how busy you are, and for basic safety you don’t need to read a lot of books no matter how good they might be. This week, in the interest of making the most efficient use of your time, we’ll start by looking at the one book you should read: Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country.
This one is published by a veritable Who’s Who of earthquake safety, including the United States Geological Survey, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross, and the California Earthquake Authority. It’s both authoritative and comprehensive, covering the most important points in a wide range of areas. Best of all, it’s only 32 pages long so you actually have a decent chance of finding enough time to read it. By the way, you might expect some advice here to “keep this book stored safely with your emergency supplies.” Ha! A fat lot of good it’s going to do you there — most of the booklet is about what you need to do before the earthquake, so the best place for this is in your bathroom where you can read a page or two at a time in your “spare moments”. You’ll probably retain the information better that way anyway.
The whole first section is devoted to the importance of caring enough about earthquakes to prepare for them. One striking example is the ShakeMap (shown on the left) showing the “expected levels of shaking from future earthquakes” in the San Francisco Bay Area. Green is good, red is bad, and our entire region is one big red zone. For anyone reading this blog that’s likely preaching to the choir, but you can certainly use visuals like this to help convince your family, friends, and neighbors to consider getting on board with their own preparations.
The remaining sections discuss specific hazards and scenarios to prepare for, and what concrete actions you can take to keep your family and yourself safer. It also contains some other goodies like Earthquake Myths (a sample of which appears to the right) and lots of references to websites with further information. It doesn’t go into great depth and we’ll be discussing much of that material in detail in later blog posts, but this booklet can’t be beat for summing up everything you need to know for basic safety in one handy and manageable package.
So, you may ask, how much does this treasure trove of priceless information cost? It’s FREE. Well, actually it was funded with your tax dollars so technically you’ve already paid for it, but at least this time you can get something useful back in exchange. There are several ways to get your copy:
- Read it online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/2005/15/
- Download the entire booklet as a single PDF file at http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/2005/15/gip-15.pdf
- Request that a printed copy be mailed to you (U.S. addresses only) at https://sslearthquake.usgs.gov/regional/nca/handbook/?choice=english
- If you live outside northern California or would prefer to read it in Spanish, you can get those versions too at http://www.earthquakecountry.info/roots/index.php
That’s all for today. Next week we’ll return our focus to securing your furniture by reviewing another type of security fastener, this one based on straps instead of cables. In the meantime, please read the online version of Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country, or better yet order a printed copy right now so your whole family can read it as they have time.