What a strange time to be in the construction business! Having started Earthquake Tech 27 years ago, I have been through a lot of strange times – 2001 and 2008 most notably. The pandemic was strange two years ago – can’t believe it has been two years. I remember stocking up on cans of soup at Safeway about a week before the shutdown and thinking how eerie it all was.
Fast forward two years and now we are dealing with the inflation we should have all seen coming, right? Hindsight is always 20/20. When I get a moment to think about things, I always come back to preparedness is key. What could make this situation worse? I thought the 2.9 magnitude earthquake that was recorded on July 24th in Hillsboro/Aloha was a gentle reminder, and now we had a 4.4 that shook Linn County ! Earthquake !!!! That is what could make this year worse! A significant earthquake could make things much, much worse – I mean much, much, much worse. Yeah – that is how I think – breathing seismic retrofitting day in and day out, earthquake preparedness is always staring me in the face – and the truth is I am not as prepared as I would like to be. So, I am going to share with you what is on my need-to-do list:
I moved into another old house two years ago. I immediately did the seismic retrofit on it, but I have put off the strapping of my water heater and the install of an emergency gas shut off valve. It is definitely time to take care of that. That’s right, Mr. EarthQuakeTech needs to do that still. I will have to build a decent 2×4 brace wall next to the water heater because it is not next to anything I can brace it to – no big deal – three 2x4s, some nuts and bolts and a few hours and it is done. The water heater strapping kits are sold at Home Depot. Easy peasy.
For those of you not inclined to do this, you can find someone to do that easily. Of course we are standing by the phone waiting for your call as well so feel free to call us. Our standard rate for a simple water heater bracing is $250. More involved situations will cost more. Do not strap the water heater to your chimney! This is a big no no. Your chimney is made of brick and will fall apart during an earthquake, leaving your broken water heater sitting next to a pile of rubble.
Installing an emergency gas shut off on your gas line outside of your home is a little more involved and should be done by someone who knows how to thread gas pipe. This will prevent potential gas leaks and fires should your house and gas lines move during an earthquake. Again – there are plenty of people you can find who can do these. We are doing standard 3/4 gas line emergency shut off valve installs for $700 and up – we use the California Emergency gas Shut Off Valve. There are others out there like the Northridge Valve that are fine as well. Our install includes the required permit label with the City and the required gas line bracing that ensures the valve is activated when the house moves.
We also do all the structural home and building retrofitting that will safeguard your asset! Feel free to call us for a free estimate.
I also need to get on a few less expensive, but also very important emergency preparedness measures.
I need to get to know my neighbors here living next to me better! Organizing a simple get together to talk about an emergency scenario is a great way to introduce your neighbors to the concept of neighborhood emergency response should something go down. You and your neighbors will be the first responders in a significant earthquake. The police and fire department are NOT coming for a while. Knowing how you can help your neighbors and letting them know how they can help you will make a big difference should the time come. It is a good way to spread the responsibilities of having everything you will need and finding out who has a generator, tools, ladder, who can check in on your pets and whose pets you can check in on.
Make a list of all the good stuff and talk through it. Your cell phones are not going to be functioning, so some time spent now will save you a lot of grief later. There is a great brochure called Map Your Neighborhood that outlines ALL of this. Hit up the link and get ten of them for you and your neighbors to use. https://www.tvfr.com/DocumentCenter/View/188/Map-Your-Neighborhood?bidId=
I need to restock the soup supply and other food that I got two years ago when the pandemic set in. I have eaten it all – rotating the stock is necessary unless you buy product that lasts as long as a Twinkie. I like product from Trader Joe’s – they sell some great reheatable pouches of Indian food that I will cook up with some couscous or rice. Great on the hiking trail for those overnight camping trips, too.
I need to fill up the two 5-gallon gas tanks that I have for my emergency generator. I rotate the gas out and haven’t filled them back up since I dumped the gas into my boat.
Get a generator! I spent $700 at Harbor Freight for a nice one. Your electricity will be going out and so will your freezer! BBQing is sooo much nicer than just relying on canned goods.
I need to re-organize my disaster kit – I plundered the stock of sleeping bags and other consumables like charcoal and kindling that I store year round for the summer outings we have been having.
And last – if you have a fireplace – stock up on firewood! I took the opportunity to do so two years ago after the last ice storm. There was sooo much maple lying in the roads I couldn’t resist.
So there ya go! My best advice for earthquake preparedness in this year 2022, year three of the pandemic. I am sure there are some things I left out, but if I can get my butt in gear and do these simple tasks, I will be feeling pretty well prepared.
You should absolutely come down to OMSI on October 15th for their pre–Great Oregon ShakeOut event being held from 10 until 4, keeping earthquake preparedness on people’s minds. Earthquake Tech will have a table there and I would love to hear your questions and ideas! They also have a ridiculously cool shake table that is the size of a normal room. Pretty cool!
Check out the shake room
Check out the OMSI events link (it should put out info on their events page in September)
Oregon Emergency Management is holding The Great Oregon ShakeOut on October 20th, 2022, at 10:20 am. This event is trying to get as many people in Oregon as possible to participate in a statewide emergency earthquake drill. It is a great opportunity for people and businesses to run through their emergency plans.
Check out the Great Oregon ShakeOut at this link https://www.shakeout.org/oregon/