Saturday, April 19, 2014

Earthquake Drill

The Great Alaskan Earthquake ripped Anchorage apart 50 years ago on March 27, 1964. To commemorate this event last month the newspaper ran a week long series of articles on the quake and its tsunami. There were lots of public service announcements about earthquake preparedness and earthquake drills. I read about a suggested practice drill at 1:36PM on March 27, 2014. I decided the children should participate, so we ran an earthquake drill at our home.

First we read the guidelines for earthquake drills. Here was the standard advice: "If you're indoors, stay there. Get under -- and hold onto --a desk or table, or stand against an interior wall. Stay clear of exterior walls, glass, heavy furniture, fireplaces and appliances. The kitchen is a particularly dangerous spot." It is not advised that you stand in a doorway, but rather that you find an inside corner to huddle in.  In a major earthquake you might not be able to move about safely so you should not move to another room unless the room you were in was unsafe. 

We were having our earthquake discussion at the kitchen table which is located partially in a window bow containing five tall windows. The children could climb under the table and hold on, but it didn't seem particularly safe with all those windows near and cupboards filled with Fiestaware just a few feet away. We looked at the family room which is connected to the kitchen/dining area but it had one wall with windows and the two remaining walls were covered in toy or book shelves. The school room was similarly dangerous--windows and bookshelves filled with many heavy objects that could go flying.

Here was our best solution for the main floor:

I'm not sure this was a good solution, but I haven't yet figured out anything better. Our main floor is perfect for family living: lots of open space (i.e. few interior walls) with many windows to let in the light. It is not so perfect for staying safe during an earthquake.

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