Disaster Reduction Day

The second Wednesday in October (today) is designated by the UN as Disaster Reduction Day. In my eternal fascination with all things that go squish in the darkness, I have some suggested activities:

1. Play a round of Stop Disasters! It’s a simcity-style game that will introduce you to common-sense mitigation strategies for a variety of disasters. All rounds are timed, so you won’t lose your whole day (unless you get addicted to playing more and more difficult scenarios for better payoff…)

2.  Prepare your home for earthquakes. Vancouver is a subduction zone triple-plate junction with the potential for megaquakes, so today is as good of a day as any to make sure heavy objects are down low where they won’t hurt you if they fall, fragile items are earthquake-tacky’ed into place, and your Grab’n’Go bag is stocked with flashlights, food & water, copies of ID & research data, and whatever else you absolutely need in case of emergency.

3. Do a hazard spot-check. Are there broken gutters (which can lead to rapid erosion events)? Are there flammable materials leaning against walls? Are there things you would trip over in a nocturnal evacuation? Batteries in fire alarms, food good in emergency kits, contact info up to date?

5. Read up on local hazards. The very best popsci book I’ve read in the past several years is an illustrated guide to Vancouver geohazards, “Vancouver: City on the Edge.” Check out government websites for regional hazard maps, and figure out what your most likely hazards are.

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