Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chile Earthquake Statistics

Article from the SALT LAKE COUNTY A.R.E.S. INC newsletter, April 2011
by Richard Jorgensen

On March 12, 2011, the world’s most earthquake prepared nation, Japan suffered a devastating earthquake and tsunami. At present the death toll stands at approximately 27,000 people deceased or disappeared. As recovery efforts are still ongoing it more than likely that this extreme number will rise.  The earthquake and subsequent tsunami has caused the local officials here to re-evaluate their level of preparedness along the Wasatch fault.

On February 27, 2010 the country of Chile experienced an 8.8 earthquake and subsequent tsunami. I would like to share with you some statistics from that event so that you can better evaluate your level of preparedness.

Area effected:                                                            Approximately 1200 miles by 200 miles.
Homes damaged beyond repair:                            438,296
Average days to restore electricity:                        12 days -16 days to the most severely damaged areas
Average days to restore cell phone service:          9 days
Average days to restore potable water:                 26 days.
More than 90 days in the most severely damaged areas. In perspective that means more than 90 days to flush the toilet or to have a decent shower…
Average days to get in relief supplies and help:    6 days
Municipal buildings destroyed:                               10397 the biggest number being schools
Average age of a destroyed school:                       27 years
Hospitals damaged:                                                 41 Hospitals
Hospitals damaged / cannot be occupied             18 Hospitals
Average age of the destroyed hospitals:               33 years

All hospitals are municipal buildings. What we refer to as private for profit hospitals are called clinics.
Clinics damaged:                                                     22 clinics
Clinics damaged / cannot be occupied:                7 clinics
Average age of a destroyed clinic:                       12 yearsTotal of 4249 hospital beds were destroyed by the earthquake.
Number of incidents of liquid faction:                    31546 - this includes minor flooding caused by
subterranean water coming to the surface.
Smallest wave of the resulting tsunami:                4.5 meters tall. Largest wave 30 meters tall.
Cargo ships destroyed:                                          528 ships
Damaged streets, bridges and airports:              1716
Average rise in the earth:                                        2.91 meters - This means that most cities in the
earthquake area are now 2.91 meters higher than they were before the quake. Average lateral movement: 2.28 meters.
Aftershocks in a 1yr period greater than a 4.0:      1426 aftershocks
Cost of reconstruction:                                            61 Billion US$

The point of the above stats is to make us all aware of the potential damage that can occur here in along the Wasatch Front. We have more un-reinforced masonry buildings here in the Salt Lake Valley than ever existed in the affected area in Chile.

It has been several hundred of years since our last major earthquake. Chile experienced a 9.4 earthquake in 1960 in the same area as the earthquake of 2010. Building codes are much stricter there than here. However, any earthquake does not respect the rights of people. It affects everyone; it does not matter if your home is more than one hundred years old or if it is new. The newest homes destroyed in Chile were less than six months old and were built to the highest earthquake standards. Some buildings were damaged and destroyed while a building less than 10 meters away was left undamaged. The biggest evidence of the earthquake is all of the fences that fell during the shaking.

While FEMA states they can be here in three days it may be more than a week before there is any sense of normality after an earthquake. It may take you a week before you are allowed to return to your home if you are away when the earthquake happens. Be prepared for the worse and always hope for the best.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Two Additional Preparedness Videos

Follow the links below for two additional preparedness videos that show people in Orange County, California - what they have been through, and how they have prepared for the future disasters...whether it be floods, fires, earthquakes - or even a job loss or financial problems.

These videos were created by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in CA, but the message applies to ALL.

First video:

Second video:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Emergency Fair Video

Thank you to Owen KC7ITA for the link to this video.  It shows the Irvine, CA community coming together to get prepared for emergencies.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

HAM - Antennas I Personally Reccomend

Arrow Antenna - OSJ 146/440
 Many people have asked what are the best antennas they should purchase for their homes and/or field emergency communications.  There are many types, lengths and brands of antenna you can purchase or build yourself.  I would like to recommend two specific antennas we have used in the SLC Foothill Net and I have found to be of very good quality and usefulness. 

First, Arrow Antenna makes an excellent 2m/7cm J-Pole antenna.  Product number OSJ 146/440. 

Made from aluminum, this antenna works great for mounting on your house top either on a tri-pod, a chimney, or a metal sewer vent pipe.  Because of it's simple design, you can set this up quickly and use for a semi permanent mobil emergency communications operation.

From the east bench, I am able to reach all the major repeaters throughout the valley, a couple in the Provo area, and several in Ogden area - including Tremonton.  The current price of this antenna is $39

N9TAX - Dual Band 'Slim Jim' J-Pole

Next, there is a gentleman on ebay, N9TAX - Joseph, that sells a great product call a dual band 'Slim Jim' J-Pole

This antenna can be supported by many things including trees, ceilings, curtain rods and pretty much anything else you can dream up that will support 6 oz of weight and keep the antenna a couple inches away from solid objects.  It's lightweight for your grab-and-go kit and a super quick install.

This antenna is great for emergency communication activities, field expeditions, hotel rooms and base station use to.  One member of our net hangs it from the ceiling tiles in his 3rd floor office in SLC and communicates all over the valley.  Follow this link for more information on purchasing:

But, don't take my word for it.  'Google' both antennas and read what others have to say about them.  The website is a good starting point filled with many reviews.

Amateur Radio Emergency Communications

In times of crisis and natural disasters, amateur radio is often used as a means of emergency communication when wireline, cell phones and other conventional means of communications fail.

Unlike commercial systems, Amateur radio is not as dependent on terrestrial facilities that can fail. It is dispersed throughout a community without "choke points" such as cellular telephone sites that can be overloaded.

Amateur radio operators are experienced in improvising antennas and power sources and most equipment today can be powered by an automobile battery. Annual "Field Days" are held in many countries to practice these emergency improvisational skills. Amateur radio operators can use hundreds of frequencies and can quickly establish networks tying disparate agencies together to enhance interoperability.

Recent examples include the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in Manhattan in 2001, the 2003 North America blackout and Hurricane Katrina in September 2005, where amateur radio was used to coordinate disaster relief activities when other systems failed.

On September 2, 2004, ham radio was used to inform weather forecasters with information on Hurricane Frances live from the Bahamas. On December 26, 2004, an earthquake and resulting tsunami across the Indian Ocean wiped out all communications with the Andaman Islands, except for a DX-pedition that provided a means to coordinate relief efforts. Recently, Amateur Radio operators in the People's Republic of China provided emergency communications after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and U.S. hams did similar work following Hurricane Ike.

The largest disaster response by U.S. amateur radio operators was during Hurricane Katrina which first made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane went through Miami, Florida on August 25, 2005, eventually strengthening to Category 5. More than a thousand ham operators from all over the U.S. converged on the Gulf Coast in an effort to provide emergency communications assistance. Subsequent Congressional hearings highlighted the Amateur Radio response as one of the few examples of what went right in the disaster relief effort.

Information posted from the following link:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

HAM - When Ham radio, social networks provided the connect

Mumbai/ New Delhi-

For three hours after hearing about the tsunami in Japan, Delhi resident Dr A.P. Mishra tried to contact his daughter, Surabhi, a student of biology at the Hokkaido University. Unable to get through, he contacted Mr Sandeep Baruah, a Ham radio operator.

Mr Baruah posted the message on an internal e-mailing system used by Ham radio operators. This was picked up and relayed further by Mr Rammohan, Director of Hyderabad's National Institute of Amateur Radio. Since Mr Rammohan was using the amateur radio when the earthquake occurred, he could get across to fellow Ham-radio operator, Ms Kiyoko Miyoshi, in Japan, who called the University officials and relayed to Surabhi, her father's message.

In earthquake- and tsunami-hit Japan, Ham radio operators and social networking sites have helped link families to loved ones in Japan. But connecting to Japanese Ham radio operators is not easy, as they are not on all frequencies. Sometimes messages are relayed from India to Thailand-based operators who, in turn, relay to Japan, Mr Rammohan told Business Line.

Also, since most Indian operators do not know Japanese, communication is difficult and the airwaves are scanned for English-speaking Japanese operators. Nevertheless, Japanese Ham radio operators are using their radio-network and the Internet to relay messages and, “I'm seeing heightened Internet activity on the system used by the Japanese hams,” Mr Baruah said.

Tweeting concern
Expressing relief on Facebook, a message read: “We were on Skype with our son (name deleted) a little while ago. He is in Beijing on a school trip and is fine. He returns to Japan middle of next week..!”

And as television aired the extent of devastation, another concerned message said: “… Kapila, Pam thanks for the update. Pooja write soon Pls.” Some changed travel plans because of tsunami alerts: “Heart goes out to all the folks in Japan....also just cancelled my scheduled LA trip with all the news around the potential repercussions hitting the US west coast.”

But from inside Japan, a message reached out: “I and my whole family are safe….And villages on the north-east coast were devastated.”

Giving hope to worried Indians, the Foreign Secretary, Ms Nirupama Rao, tweeted: “Just spoke with our Ambassador in Tokyo. All Indians safe acc to presently available info. We have about 100 in Sendai.”

And once a Ham radio operator, Mr Amitabh Bachchan, tweeted: “…The belligerence of nature .. unpredictable and unimaginable ..! Thoughts and prayers with all.”

Quoting the Dalai Lama, another tweet urged Japanese Buddhists to recite the “Heart Sutra” for lost lives and to prevent future disasters. “Prayers to recite the Heart Sutra one hundred thousand times were being organised in Dharamsala,” the message said.

Striking a chord with many was a chain-message on Facebook. “For some of you last night was the best night of your life. But for some people in Japan it was the last night of their lives. Re-post this to show your support for all those who lost their loved ones last night..!”

(with inputs from S. Arun and Debabrata Das in New Delhi)     March 12, 2011

HAM - Nanaimo father uses Facebook, ham radio to find son in Japan

By Chris Koehn and Danielle Bell, Nanaimo Daily News March 13, 2011

NANAIMO — Trevor Jones employed new and old technologies to locate and contact his son Jonathon on Sunday. He was listed as missing after an earthquake rocked Japan last week.

Jonathon had been teaching English in Japan for the past four years and was living in Sendai City when the disaster occurred. His family in Nanaimo was distraught when they were unable to learn of his fate. Forty-eight hours after the earthquake, Trevor was able to wish his son a happy belated birthday after making use of Facebook and ham radio to locate him.

"Facebook helped find him. If this were 25-30 years ago, it would have taken weeks or a month to find him," Trevor said. "We're flying pretty high."

Jonathon and his girlfriend, Aya-Chan Izaka, are fine, Trevor said, and have survival kits and enough liquid and food for the time being. They are without power and if they do run low on water, Jones suggested to his son to drink from the hot-water tank.

The Government of Canada has been in touch with Jonathon and has offered to evacuate him, he said, but he has decided to stay with Izaka and her family to help out.

If you're a Canadian abroad, Trevor's advice is to register with the Canadian government and make use of every media source at your disposal to stay in contact with family and friends during emergencies.
"I don't know how to describe it. The proliferation of Internet, phones, websites and stuff like that can turn around and in 48 hours I can get a response from somebody. I was at the beginning quite critical about some things, then I started to realize that the system is in place, and I figured out how to use it to get information."

Trevor called embassies, checked social media sites and made use of a ham radio operated by Jonathon's grandfather. The reliability of ham radio during emergencies makes them an excellent tool, he explained. Within an hour they were able to get someone in Sendai City to talk with them over the radio while others were unable to get through on overloaded phone lines.

Trevor said he hopes that rescuers and governments haven't forsaken the radios for newer technologies.

"I think they've forgotten about ham radios. If you went back to the time when I was 32 years old that was the only system that wouldn't break down."

The Jones family has made arrangements to be in touch again today.

Another Nanaimo family is relieved their son and his wife escaped unharmed. Louise Brittain was able to get i touch with her son, Douglas, shortly after the earthquake and waves rocked the region.

Doug and his wife, Ayako Takano, live in Toyoko and were not injured although several tremors shook the ground as Brittain spoke to her son. She feared the worst when she woke up to news of the tragedy.
"I was very concerned," said Brittain on Saturday. "I'm a very fortunate person."

Douglas, 37, a private school teacher, has lived through smaller quakes in his dozen years in Japan, where he met and married his wife. He had just returned back to the country after attending a funeral in Coombs in early February.

Douglas had stayed at his school with students for hours after the quake as people tried to get home. A 10-minute journey by car had turned into three hours.

On Friday, long lineups met the pair as they went to buy food but Douglas plans on staying in Tokyo, according to Brittain. Their new house escaped major damage.

Brittain has visited Japan, including Sendai, several times, most recently for his wedding five years ago.
"I said, keep being thankful you're alive and well," Brittain told her son when they last spoke.

As many as 300,000 people countrywide have been evacuated so far, including 90,000 from areas near a nuclear plant, as massive relief efforts continue in Japan.

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

EP - Make A Plan

Good information from

Make a Plan For What You Will Do in an Emergency
The reality of a disaster situation is that you will likely not have access to everyday conveniences. To plan in advance, think through the details of your everyday life. If there are people who assist you on a daily basis, list who they are and how you will contact them in an emergency. Create your own personal support network by identifying others who will help you in an emergency. Think about what modes of transportation you use and what alternative modes could serve as back-ups. If you require handicap accessible transportation be sure your alternatives are also accessible. If you have tools or aids specific to your disability, plan how you would cope without them. For example, if you use a communication device, mobility aid, or rely on a service animal, what will you do if these are not available? If you are dependent on life-sustaining equipment or treatment such as a dialysis machine, find out the location and availability of more than one facility. For every aspect of your daily routine, plan an alternative procedure. Make a plan and write it down. Keep a copy of your plan in your emergency supply kits and a list of important information and contacts in your wallet. Share your plan with your family, friends, care providers and others in your personal support network.

Create a Personal Support Network: If you anticipate needing assistance during a disaster, make a list of family, friends and others who will be part of your plan. Talk to these people and ask them to be part of your support network. Share each aspect of your emergency plan with everyone in your group, including a friend or relative in another area who would not be impacted by the same emergency who can help if necessary. Make sure everyone knows how you plan to evacuate your home, school or workplace and where you will go in case of a disaster. Make sure that some­one in your personal support network has an extra key to your home and knows where you keep your emer­gency supplies. Teach them how to use any lifesaving equipment or administer medicine in case of an emergency. If you use a wheelchair, oxygen or other medical equipment show friends how to use these devices so they can move you if necessary or help you evacuate. Practice your plan with those who have agreed to be part of your personal support network.
Inform your employer and co-workers about your dis­ability and let them know specifically what assistance you will need in an emergency. This is particularly important if you need to be lifted or carried. Talk about communication difficulties, physical limitations, equip­ment instructions and medication procedures. If you are hearing impaired, discuss the best ways to alert you in an emergency. If you have a cognitive disability, be sure to work with your employer to determine how to best notify you of an emergency and what instruction methods are easiest for you to follow. Always participate in exercises, trainings and emergency drills offered by your employer.

Develop a Family Communications Plan: Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another and review what you will do in different situations. Consider a plan where each family member calls or e-mails the same friend or relative in the event of an emergency. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact, not in the impacted area, may be in a better position to communi­cate among separated family members. You may have trouble getting through, or the phone system may be down altogether, but be patient. For more information on how to develop a family communications plan, visit

Deciding to Stay or Go: Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the emergency, the first important decision is whether you stay or go. You should understand and plan for both possibilities. Use common sense and available information to determine if there is immediate danger. In any emergency, local authorities may or may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should monitor television or radio news reports for information or official instructions as they become available. If you’re specifically told to evacuate or seek medical treatment, do so immediately. If you require additional travel time or need transporta­tion assistance, make these arrangements in advance.

Consider Your Service Animal or Pets: Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your service animal and pets. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals. If you must evacuate, take your pets with you, if possible. However, if you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that by law only service animals must be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your animals; consider loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area, pet-friendly shelters and veterinarians who would be willing to take in you and your pets in an emergency. For more information about pet preparedness, visit

Staying Put: Whether you are at home or else­where, there may be situations when it’s simply best to stay where you are and avoid any uncertainty outside. Consider what you can do to safely shelter-in-place alone or with friends, family or neighbors. Also consider how a shelter designated for the public would meet your needs. There could be times when you will need to stay put and create a barrier between yourself and potentially contaminated air outside. This process is known as “sealing the room.” Use available information to assess the situation. If you see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local authorities say the air is badly contami­nated, you may want to take this kind of action. For more information about “sealing the room,” visit

Evacuation: There may be conditions in which you will decide to get away or there may be situations when you may be ordered to leave. Plan how you will get away and anticipate where you will go. Choose several destinations in different directions so you have options in an emergency. Ask about evacuation plans at the places where you spend time including work, school, community organizations and other places you frequent. If you typically rely on elevators, have a back-up plan in case they are not working.

Fire Safety: Plan two ways out of every room in case of fire. Check for items such as bookcases, hanging pictures, or overhead lights that could fall and block an escape path. Check hallways, stairwells, doorways, windows and other areas for hazards that may keep you from safely leaving a building during an emergency. Secure or remove furniture and objects that may block your path. If there are aspects of preparing your home or workplace that you are not able to do yourself, enlist the help of your personal support network.

Contact Your Local Emergency Information Management Office: Some local emergency management offices maintain registers of people with disabilities so you can be located and assisted quickly in a disaster. Contact your local emergency management agency to see if these services exist where you live or visit to find links to government offices in your area. In addition, wearing medical alert tags or bracelets that identify your dis­ability can be a crucial aid in an emergency situation. When traveling, consider alerting hotel or motel workers if you will need help in a disaster situation.