The Sounds of Earthquake Country

As the death toll continues to rise and the horrific devastation of the Nepal earthquake is show for the world to see, I sit watching the sunrise from my hotel room in Salinas, California.

I pray for the people of Nepal, reflect on my own preparedness efforts, and ready myself for a visit to a nearby hospital, where later this morning I will meet with facilities management personnel to create a plan to secure the contents of the hospital’s sterile supply room. In the wake of a massive earthquake causing widespread damage half way across the world, we’ll be securing items in one room in one building in order to prevent earthquake damage. That’s how preparedness works, one room at a time.

We have such an advantage in California. Building codes continue to improve following each earthquake, and while to codes don’t guarantee businesses will stay open following a major event, the improve construction allows places such a hospitals the opportunity to drill down, if you will, and insure that the equipment and furniture critical to the operation of the facility after an earthquake are secured and usable.

The Napa earthquake last year provided a good example of this large to small aspect preparedness. I was onsite the day after the earthquake, and saw many crumbled building fronts and chimneys, building contents thrown all over the place, and suspended ceiling in the parking lot behind buildings rather that suspending from the ceiling as they should be.


Yet for all of this, what has stayed with me the most following this earthquake was the 911 calls. Listen to this:

Before you get too complacent regarding the relative strength of your home of workplace in comparison to similar structures in places such as Nepal and Haiti, consider the real possibility, after listening to the recordings, that you or a loved one may not be able to get out of a room. Consider the possibility that there may be no light in that room as well.

Preparedness on a small scale, one room or one piece of furniture, but continued for the long haul is how to get truly ready for a devastating earthquake.