Disaster Zone

Taking Advantage of the Window of Opportunity

Earlier I had written about taking advantage of calamities (I think the victims who died in quakes would not mind us trying to keep other

by Eric Holdeman / March 7, 2010
Earlier I had written about taking advantage of calamities (I think the victims who died in quakes would not mind us trying to keep other people alive by "taking advantage of their deaths") in order to motivate governments, businesses and citizens to do something about the hazards that face them where they live and work.

Two good examples of this come from the Puget Sound region. See the announcement I got on Friday about an event to be held to call attention to what we might face here:

Haitian and Chilean Earthquakes Compared - Lessons for the Pacific Northwest

CREW along with PNSN, EERI, USGS and UDP invite you to a discussion of the local and global impacts and responses to the Haitian and Chilean earthquakes, and related lessons for the Pacific Northwest.

Haiti's built and social structures demonstrably lacked the resilience needed to survive the shaking, despite the fact that an earthquake was expected to occur at some point and the understood vulnerability of many of the country's systems. On the other hand, Chile has a long history of living with, preparing for, and responding to earthquakes. This is evident in the fact that, although the Chilean earthquake released ~500 times the energy of Haiti's, their buildings have fared much better. This is a remarkable testimony to the efficacy of adhering to building codes designed to keep structures standing after a strong earthquake.

Where: University of Washington Campus, Room 102 Johnson Hall
When: March 23th, 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM

1. Reception: 3:30 PM - 4:00 PM
2. Welcome: Robin Friedman (Director, King County Emergency)
3. Opening Remarks: Dow Constantine, King County Executive (invited)
4. The Event: Joan Gomberg (USGS)
Impacts: David Gonzalez (Associate Principal
Degenkolb Engineers), Mark R. Pierepiekarz (President MRP Engineering) and Tim Walsh (Chief Hazards Geologist, WaDNR)
5. What we can do?: Tamra Biasco, Moderator (FEMA Earthquake/Tsunami Program Officer)

Preparedness Response: Seattle/King county - Joann Jordan (Seattle EM)
Mitigation of Structures - Cale Ash (Degenkolb)
Mitigation for Tsunamis - Tim Walsh (Chief Hazards Geologist, DNR)
Business - Wendy Freitag (EMD)
Homeowner - Roger Faris (FEMA)

Similarities and differences between these two events and what we can expect in the Northwest will be presented.

Then there is the Op-ed that appeared in the Seattle Times recently, Puget Sound must not be complacent in the face of the earthquake threat

Both of the above are great examples of taking advantage of people's interest to perhaps change the course of history when disaster strikes--it is a teachable moment.