Saturday, October 31, 2015

[HAZARD] - Are you ready?  Part 5 of 5 - The CSZ

Communications in any emergency can mean the difference between life and death.  This truth is demonstrated in every disaster after action report ever written.  Learn the skills of the HAM radio operator and join a local club.  It’s fun, and just like we saw in Moore Oklahoma after the tornados hit, it’s likely to be the only operational communications method for quite some time.  It takes a lot of work and resources to restore Cellular service when the towers are down as in this scenario.

Information is king in a crisis!  Without it you can stumble into truly hazardous conditions or be put in a position to have to use lethal force to defend yourself and your family when a fight could have been avoided if you had but known what was ahead.

Mobility is also vital if you are to regroup with your family, or need to get out of the way of a disaster.  We live in a highly mobile society and we’ve come to depend on a variety of modes of transportation.  It is imperative that planning consider probable locations of family members and develop a strategy for how they could successfully return the previously designated family meeting (rally point) place.  This is where communications and information become vital because you’ve got to assess the situation and possibly adjust the plan you’ve designed to fit the circumstances.  It is important that each family member have a Go Kit that always accompanies them.  Based on the severity of the disaster, the only way to reunite may be walking so you’ll want a Go Kit that is designed not only to have the needed resources but one that can be carried easily and safely.

Security is perhaps the most difficult skill for some to master, or in some cases, come to terms with.  For some, a personal world view has blinded them to the real necessity of assuming responsibility for their personal security.  For others “Normalcy Bias” may distort their perception of the world around them.  Whatever the case, the Supreme Court has ruled that police officers are not responsible for your security, you are. I can’t tell you how many times a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) has reinforced this truth to me.  

Just remember, we prepare for the worst and hope (or pray) for the best.

In June of 2016 the federal government will orchestrate a multi-state, multi-jurisdiction, international exercise in order to prepare for a CSZ event.  This will be the culmination of a great deal of hard work.

Friday, October 30, 2015

[HAZARD] - Are you ready?  Part 4 of 5 - The CSZ

Five simple steps for plan development and management:
  1. Develop a plan to address each of the most likely disaster scenarios you’ll face
  2. Aquire the skills and resources required to implement your plans
  3. Train your team, assigning each and every one of them a role
  4. Test your plans with your team regularly
  5. Revise your plans based on what you learned testing them, and return to step 2

Developing these plans is not that difficult.  You do it naturally all the time.  What’s different is that you document the plan, assign roles, and acquire the resources and skills to execute the plan successfully.

Approach your plan development with three basic types:
  1. Rendezvous - Is my team assembled and ready to execute our plans?
  2. Stay - Our gathered intelligence tells us that staying at our home is the safest option.
  3. Evacuate - Our gathered intelligence tells us that we aren’t safe and need to relocate.

Every plan you create will be some derivative of the three plan types listed above.
Common among all plans are some very basic skills.  
They are:
  1. The ability to communicate even when regular modes are not functional.
  2. Access to dependable sources of information.
  3. The ability to be mobile.
  4. The ability to protect yourself.

To be continued in part 5

Thursday, October 29, 2015

[HAZARD] - Are you ready?  Part 3 of 5 - The CSZ

Second: What can you do about events such as these?

So, when a really major disaster occurs:
  • Do you know what to do?  
  • What is the first thing you think of?  
  • Do you run into the street blindly without a destination in mind?  
  • Do you barricade yourself in your closet with your fingers stuffed in your ears while humming loudly?


All of us should prepare for abnormal events such as the CSZ, so lets talk about what it means to actually get prepared for the time when something horrible happens.  If you are fortunate enough to live in a geologically stable location your preparations don’t need to include this scenario.  Just do what every good prepper does (see below).  However, if you happen to live in the danger zone of a major fault you have a plan to create and exercise!

It is the plan that is essential for the family because without one the natural tendency is to run around trying various things, most of which will result in unfortunate outcomes for you and the ones most important to you.  

What I’m about to describe summarizes a process that has been developed, and used by the Emergency Management community with great success.  Nothing here should be foreign to a mature prepper.  Beginners and intermediates take note, this is what it means to be prepared!  

“Buying stuff is NOT preparedness, having a plan, a team, skills and resources appropriate for the plan is.”

Preparedness is having a plan, a team, skills, and resources required by the plan.

To be continued in part 4

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

[HAZARD] - Are you ready?  Part 2 of 5 - The CSZ

First: The estimated impact of the CSZ.

In 2001 one of the larger earthquakes to strike Washington state occurred.  This event measured 6.8 in magnitude and lasted approximately 45 seconds.  There were no deaths but 400 people were injured.  Unreinforced concrete and masonry buildings were hit hardest.  This event was felt as far away as Pasco Washington, East of the  Cascade range, a distance of 190 miles.  Distance and the make up of the geology attenuate the shock waves, which are not uniform due to subsurface geology.

When the CSZ event occurs, the magnitude is estimated to be 9.0+ and have a duration of between 3 and 6 minutes.  After reading the reports produced by the scientific models, it sounds like most of the I-5 corridor will be rubble and the coast will be inundated by a tsunami of 20 to 80 feet in height.  Deaths will be numbered in the tens of thousands and injuries many times that.  Infrastructure in the impact zone will effectively be eliminated.  Half of the hospitals will be inoperative.  Law enforcement will suffer a loss of over 50% and Fire Services will lose 33% of their capacity.

Aftershocks will be brutal, averaging an estimated 7.0 magnitude.  The Christchurch New Zealand quake produced thousands of aftershocks which had a profound impact on the psychology of the population, so much so that people gave the condition a name.  They call it “Quake Brain” for the effects it had, which include, mental fatigue and overload.  This psychological effect has been plaguing those people for three years since the main event.

To be continued in part 3

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

[HAZARD] - Are you ready?  Part 1 of 5 - The CSZ

With the recent disaster in Nepal and the release of the movie San Andreas, the topic of large earthquakes is foremost on the minds of many.

Currently a significant investment in planning for just such an event is being made by government at all levels as well as NGOs, Tribes, and others who have a vested interest.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend several briefings on what is known as the Cascade Subduction Zone event or CSZ.  The CSZ is a collision of tectonic plates in which one plate is diving under another.  These areas are know for their ability to produce what are called tectonic mega-thrust earthquakes.  What is a tectonic mega-thrust earthquake you say?  To put this in perspective, San Andreas is like the warm up band for Led Zeppelin.  When the main act goes on stage they will quite literally bring the house down, which is exactly what a tectonic mega-thrust earthquake will do.

This particular event is localized to the West coast of the United States, from Northern California to Vancouver British Columbia.  This segment of the “Ring of Fire” has been very quiet since January 26, 1700 when it is believed the last Mega Thrust Tectonic Plate earthquake produced by the Juan de Fuca and North American plate interface occurred.  When geologists formulate estimates for this event, the magnitude values begin at 9.0 and go up.  These are events that will potentially change the geology of the region or as my friends in the geology game say “take us back to 1850’s America.”

The briefings I’ve received have also been delivered to the Governor of Washington and his department heads.  To their credit, each of these individuals is taking the information seriously.  Each has initiated responsible and thoughtful actions in response to the information presented.

My objective is to prompt action on your part!

My objective in discussing this with you first and foremost is to impart knowledge, but more importantly to prompt action on your part, especially if you happen to live in the danger zone, which extends the length of the plate boundary and as far East as the Cascade mountain range.

"Indecision and delays are the parents of failure.”
~~George Canning

Note that even if you don’t live in this particular danger zone, the information applies equally to other locations that have their own hazards.

Lets consider these two things.  
First, what is going to happen?  What will be the impact of a CSZ?
Second, what can be done?  

To be continued in part 2

Monday, September 14, 2015

Introduction to Family Emergency Preparedness Planning

This blog is dedicated to helping families prepare for emergencies.  Knowing about the possible threats that you will face, and formulating a plan is the very beginning of preparedness.  We all need to begin with a plan.

You can read more about me via my LinkedIn page.  
I have spent a good part of my life making myself aware of threats and developing counter measures to mitigate the risks of those threats.  I have training and certifications that require me to do more than simply react.  I am responsible to plan and protect, and in fact do so as a profession.  The act of planning and protecting go hand in hand!  One facilitates the other.

In the following posts I hope to present information that will help you in your quest to mitigate the risks that you’ll face now and in the future.  The posts are each labeled so you can quickly determine what you’re looking at.

Posts that have [HAZARD] in the title are descriptions of potential hazards or threats that you may face.  These are typically discussions on what to expect, and even some suggestions on risk mitigation.  

Posts that have [PLANNING] in the title are discussions that address all aspects of plan creation, plan types, plan testing, and plan enhancement.  Remember that a plan that has not been tested is just a theory!  It is vital to remember that to be effective you need to consider more than just a “zombie apocalypse” in your scope of plans!

Posts that have [IN THE NEWS] in the title are current events and a discussion of how such events are relevant to our stated goal of protecting our families.  There are both lessons to be learned and increased awareness of threats to be gained.

And lastly, a post that has [OPINION] in the title is just that.  I’ve lived for over 60 years, and during that time I’ve come into contact with lots of information, interesting people, plenty of experiences, and as a result have formulated some definite opinions.  While I won’t share lots of these, from time-to-time you will likely get my perspective.  My purpose is to provide analysis and insights from an Emergency Management perspective.

Thank you for preparing for the emergencies that life has in store for us all.  It is such a big help to your community when you take the initiative to look out for your family and not rely on others,  Preparedness is rightfully your responsibility, no one else can, or should assume that role.

In the final analysis, at least for me, planning is what you do for the people you love.  If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t take the time to protect them, instead you’d let fate take it’s course.  

I hope you enjoy this blog as much as I enjoy writing it.

"Adventure is just bad planning."
- Roald Amundsen

Stay safe, be prepared!