Indian Ocean earthquake/tsunami – 2004
Pakistan earthquake – 2005
Haiti earthquake – 2010
Japan earthquake/tsunami – 2011
In the past 10 years, the world has seen numerous major seismic events strike populated areas, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of injuries, and billions of dollars in damage.
Last weekend, yet another such catastrophe occurred, as a devastating earthquake hit Nepal, claiming thousands of lives.
How fitting that Emergency Preparedness Week begins Sunday across this country.
Yet, despite the stark, chilling reminders of the unfathomable power of nature, and how it can literally tear normal life asunder, most people will give the issue here hardly more than fleeting thought.
After all, the disasters listed above all occurred a long way from here – the “safe, secure” West Coast.
Or at least, that’s the common misconception.
We live on the edge of a major fault line in the Earth’s crust.
Scientists are confident it is only a matter of time before building tectonic plate pressure triggers a cataclysmic release.
When it does, it will be the rest of the world’s turn to watch as the West Coast experiences its own natural disaster.
Despite the official warnings and very real reminders, how many of us are prepared in any meaningful way to deal with such a crisis?
A major earthquake is likely to destroy or damage bridges, roads, sanitation systems, and cut off the supply of electricity, natural gas and water.
Emergency responders will be overwhelmed, at least for several days, perhaps longer. Many people will be waiting in vain for help, assuming they can even call for assistance.
Do you have a family emergency plan? At least a few days of water stored safely? Canned or dried food? A means to cook it? What about emergency light, shelter, sanitary measures?
Or are you with the hundreds of thousands of others who are merely hoping “it won’t happen here?”