Shake Rattle and Roll

Shake Rattle and Roll

Gregory Han
Aug 9, 2007

How did you like that tectonic wake up call late last night? It was only a 4.5 magnitude temblor, but it was a physical reminder that we live in earthquake country and that there's plenty we can do in advance for bigger and more dangerous earthquakes in preparation, whether you live in a home or an apartment.

Most of our own furniture is low lying, so we don't have to worry about furniture toppling over. But I'm now considering switching over to a safer art hanging kit system since we have plenty of artwork around our studio that might go flying. Another worry is broken glass from windows during larger earthquakes (even in our small apartment, we've got 10 window zones, including two over our bed), so it's timely that I've purchased UV window film (mostly for privacy and furniture/art fade protection, but it also has the additional quality of keeping glass from shattering). We already have several earthquake survival backpacks, which can easily be put together yourself or purchased from various online sources.

But the most important thing is to have a plan with those you live with, and also with your neighbors. Apartment dwellers would do well to take note of families with young children, the elderly, the disabled and those who live alone. Many apartment buildings have a so-called "soft first floor", with parking structures beneath which can result in a serious collapse, so multi-floor residents should map out multiple escape routes. In a time of emergency, the ideals of community become the reality of survival, so it's best to make nice with your neighbors about what to do when something as dangerous and dramatic as an earthquake happens. For more information about earthquake safety, check out the LA Fire Department's Earthquake Preparedness Handbook.

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