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.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A personal account from the aftermath of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake

Well, I’m pretty busy this month so I will cheat a little and not really write a blog entry, but instead will link to a truly amazing account of one person’s experiences in the hardest-hit section of San Francisco immediately after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.  This is written by Stewart Brand, who is perhaps better known as having been the editor of the Whole Earth Catalog.  Brand just happened to be in the Marina District during the earthquake and helped with the civilian rescue attempts that are credited with having been the genesis of the San Francisco Fire Department’s Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) program and ultimately the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) programs throughout the country.  It’s interesting that Brand encapsulates the lessons that he learned during the experience, things that should be done before this happens again, and this basically sounds like a blueprint for how these programs are run and what they teach to the participants; a very forward-thinking individual!

In fact, this article was brought to my attention just last month by Dennis Hyde, the Co-Coordinator of the Inner Sunset/Golden Gate Heights NERT group.  I’ve linked to it instead of reprinting it here to avoid any copyright problems.


It’s quite long...but honestly, when I started reading it, I could not put it down, due to a combination of his excellent writing style and the no-holds barred and brutally honest account of how he and other people acted that day.  

By the way, there’s been a bug in the last few months in which people who receive this blog by e-mail have gotten messages in which some words are run together, despite looking normal in the blog.  I did some testing and I can’t reproduce the problem right now, so hopefully it is fixed...and of course the e-mail people might be laughing as they read this if it is missing spaces...

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