Well, it’s the beginning of another year. Time to reassess life goals and previous resolutions and maybe even make new ones if needed. However, this was no year like any other. If anything, this year showed just how unprepared we actually are for the potential problems of today’s modern world. This year we got blindsided by a virus that literally shut down the world for about 4 months and completely reshaped life as we know it in less than a year. This is a prime example of something happening that we couldn’t have prepared for until it was too late.
The World has quickly become a very unpredictable place, not to mention the disasters that we have already seen in various parts of the world in recent years and throughout history. Mudslides, hurricanes, and earthquakes to name some of the big ones that we have seen affect communities all over the world. Preventing these disasters is literally impossible but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be prepared for them. Maybe this is the perfect year to make one of those resolutions that is not only easy to keep, but also makes you more prepared for a disaster such as an earthquake or any natural disaster.
It’s almost effortless, by having a reliable and quality earthquake emergency kit in your household or place of business you can be prepared without really having to do anything beyond purchasing one and then storing it. After going through everything that we had to endure as a country and society for the greater good of mankind, it gets you thinking. What else could go wrong? That famous question that everyone asks before something incredibly bad happens.
Recently I moved back to the Canadian west coast after almost 10 years in Toronto. Let’s face it, aside from the odd ice storms, major natural disasters such as earthquakes and mud slides weren’t something that particular climate/landscape was capable of producing. However, that’s not exactly the case in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. The Pacific Northwest is not only a rainforest with a very vast wilderness and rugged terrain as its backdrop, it also rests on tectonic plates. The same tectonic plates that push against each other causing the earth to shift and crack and cause all sorts of damage to existing structures above. This is known to us surface dwellers as an earthquake.
We have seen our neighbours in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles get hit incredibly hard by earthquakes in the last 30 years. It’s not crazy to think that the next one is ready to hit at any given moment. It can be in any given place along any part of these active fault lines. It got me thinking, besides the obvious damage from the quake itself, what happens after the earth quake? What will the aftermath look like? After doing a little bit of internet rabbit hole research, I realized that surviving the quake was only half the battle.
According to previous earthquake aftermath, it can be days or even weeks before power and water are restored to some areas. Roads and bridges are also usually broken and/or blocked depending on the magnitude of the quake. If the roads are not in a condition to be driven on or obstructions are present, rescue teams will have difficulty getting to those in need of rescuing. Especially those in more remote and rural areas. Without supplies, power, and water you can easily put your health and/or life in jeopardy, even if you survive the initial quake.
Being prepared for a natural disaster is the perfect new year’s resolution. I know the pandemic, that we are still in the midst of, is definitely the immediate issue in our world today. But let’s face it, we are doing everything we can as a society and as it relates to pandemic preparation, well, that sailed a long time ago. I know it’s been a scary year, but that's even more of a reason to be prepared, so we don’t get caught with our pants down again when the “new normal” world sends us its next surprise.
The survival rate for the COVID-19 pandemic is recorded by many stats to be above the 99 percentile. I know it’s incredibly hard to fight and it’s something we can’t see physically, but it’s out there and it’s scary. Nonetheless, I started looking into survival rates for recent earthquakes and what I found was astounding. 4/10,000 people of the local population usually parish as a result of major earthquakes. Not only from the earthquakes themselves, but from aftershocks and things that can ensue immediately after such as tsunamis. A Tsunami can wipe out entire coastal communities if they are big enough and are often just as damaging as the earthquake itself.
Then you also have the resulting mudslides and natural gas fires that can happen, and I already touched on the obstructions that first responders have to deal with. In reality going through an earthquake is a lot more dangerous than the pandemic we just endured. This past year really has been an eye-opener, but that doesn’t mean we should stop living. It just means that we must prepare ourselves for other potential disasters this crazy world may decide to throw at us. The best resolution after a year like this; is to be cautious, be prepared but most of all go out enjoy our lives to the best of our abilities and to the benefit of our community.