Earthquake Probabilities

23:51 Tue 03 Apr 2007
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It’s very easy for me to forget that I’m living in an area that is rather likely to be hit by earthquakes in the near future. The occasional small one hits, and I remember, and then that goes away and an irrational sense of safety follows. At times it’ll come up in discussion, as it did at lunch today, but the awareness usually slips into the background fairly quickly. This isn’t good, because there’s a 62% chance of a major earthquake in the next 30 years.

Even that kind of figure is easy to shrug off, in that there’s a sense that it’s still likely to be “far away” in terms of time. But that’s still a rather high number. I’m not at all prepared for an earthquake, either. No water, no first aid kit, nada. (Except for light sources. I won’t be stuck for those.)

Unlike radiation poisoning, this seems like something with a high probability of affecting me directly, and the same goes for any of my San Francisco readers (most of whom are probably already more prepared than I am, I suspect).

Preparation here includes stocking up on food and water, getting a fire extinguisher, and getting a first aid kit. I should really take a first aid course, actually. I’ve been meaning to do that for years. I should also do something to fix my bookshelves to the walls, especially the ones near my bed.

The US Geological Survey has some tips.

San Francisco Paramedics Association—public classes.

Bay Area American Red Cross—public classes.

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