Friday, January 22, 2010

Have you learned from Haiti?

You have seen the images of terrible destruction from Haiti, and perhaps you think no disaster in the United States would ever be that bad. The U.S. has construction standards, after all. That's why so many buildings collapsed in that small island nation.

In my mind, though, the Haiti quake just amplifies the fact that we all need to have a disaster kit in our homes and a plan in case of emergency. Buy supplies before you need them. Canned goods and batteries have a shelf life of a few months to a couple of years. When your camera or TV remote needs fresh batteries, rotate the older ones out of the disaster kit and put in a fresh package. Same with the canned goods in your pantry.

Think you're safe from earthquakes? Most parts of the U.S. have experienced quakes in the past. They may have happened a couple hundred years ago, but then again, this month's quake in Haiti was the strongest to hit the island since 1770.

The U.S. Geological Survey has a lot of great information on historic quakes, maps of faultlines, and preparedness information. Did you know that a quake centered in Charleston, South Carolina was felt clear down to Florida? An earthquake centered in Missouri was felt over 2 million square miles! You can read the stories state-by-state on the USGS site.

At the very least, it's interesting reading, and it's certainly something to think about.