Matt Springer has been giving presentations around San Francisco about home earthquake preparedness since 2008 (for more information about the presentation, go to his earthquake preparedness website). This blog is devoted to posts ranging from technical "how-to" articles to more philosophical "should-you" topics. New articles will be posted at most about once a month, so people who subscribe won't be subjected to lots of e-mail.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Don’t be left in the dark: which kinds of power failure back-up lights work best in an earthquake?

What’s worse than being woken up by a large earthquake?  How about being woken
up by a large earthquake in complete darkness because the power went out?  Even
if you were already awake, it’s hard to find your chosen protected spot (UNDER 
something, not next to it) and avoid any tripping hazards like toys on the floor or
even banging into stationary furniture if you can’t see anything.  This is where a
well-placed power failure back-up light in each room can make a huge difference to
your well-being as a quake is occurring.  I’m referring not to flashlights that live in
electrical outlets that are always charged when you need them, but specifically to lights that remain charged and function as dim nightlights as long as the outlet has power, and if the power goes out (or if you unplug the light), a bright emergency light goes on automatically and can last for hours.  The picture shows an older version based on an incandescent bulb; good for illustration but these aren’t available anymore because the LED versions last so much longer on a charge.

I make a point during my talks about having these back-up lights, but if you
actually go to a store or online to find some, you will find a bewildering assortment
of these things; and the sad fact is that I haven’t found any light with which I am
completely satisfied.  However, some are much better for the purpose than others,
and I’m going to report here what I’ve found out over the past few years of looking
for lights that I like.  Some are fine as general power failure back-up lights but are
impractical for earthquakes.  As I always mention, I have no financial ties to any of
these companies and don’t benefit from you choosing any particular brand over
another, but the choice of which to use could make a huge difference in those first
critical seconds of your response during a nighttime earthquake.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Should I stay or should I go?...the inevitable dilemma about staying in the building during an earthquake

This month, we are taking a break from the actual preparedness issues and will instead delve further into this annoyingly counter-intuitive recommendation to not run out of buildings during earthquakes.

Monday, April 18, 2011

An amazing story from the past, AND more about hanging pictures that won’t come crashing down (the wired and non-wired varieties)

Even though I don’t plan on posting very often so  I don’t add to the e-mail overload of people who subscribe, it just makes sense to post something on April 18th, the anniversary of the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906.  There are two items on today’s plate: first a link to a then-young woman’s amazing description of what she experienced in the 1906 quake, and then I wanted to discuss a bit more about hanging pictures on the walls safely.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Important information about the recurring "Triangle of Life" e-mail spam

Thoughts about the much-publicized North American earthquake prediction for late March 2011

"Why the heck do you live in that place with earthquakes??"

A blog is launched; opening thoughts

This is my first experience authoring a blog, and there will probably be a few technical bumps along the way.  Earthquake safety is an important topic in a place like the San Francisco Bay Area, and I hope that the information and occasional thoughts and tips here will be of interest to people who are trying to maximize their safety in our occasionally moving region.

It's important to remember that even though we live in a place that is subject to earthquakes, which are occasionally pretty big, most of the risks associated with California earthquakes can be minimized by taking some precautions ahead of time.  Just like one knows not to go jogging alone in the middle of the night in a dark park in a dangerous part of town, one should know what to do and not to do in regions subject to natural disasters.

I'm kick-starting this blog with a few entries in a row, first introductory and then a few entries that have already been on my website.  After that, I'll post occasionally; perhaps even relatively rarely so that I don't add to people's e-mail burdens.  I've got no idea about how many people will be signing on to this, but welcome to those that do!

-Matt Springer

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