Now, do you feel lucky? Do you?
The Thought of The Day
“One incident. One building. One location.”
Six days later, and the rescue efforts in the Elliot Lake – Ontario's mall collapse – are going nowhere.
Despite the best resources, crews, equipment, knowledge, the human presence remains helpless in the face of the smallest of tragedies. Yes we are helpless, we are!
Imagine the same scenario, only multiplied one hundred, one thousand times in the aftermath of an earthquake… here in Vancouver!
Think Juan de Fuca Plate:
A few pointers:
First – Extrapolation doesn’t count when you deal with earthquakes.
Second – Preparedness works only if you sit on the top of your First Aid & Supplies Kit, if you have one, when the earthquake strucks.
Third – in the case the building you’re in, is falling on your head… forget about the first two.
During my lifetime due to my travels, I found myself in the middle of three earthquakes. From 6.5 to 7.4 on the Richter scale. One was a normal dip-slip, the other two were strike-slip. Loss of life and wounded in all of them. A hundred or more of aftershocks in the 5ths on the Richter scale. Two of them happened during night time the third in the middle of the day. I experienced them in buildings on the 4th and on the 8th floors, the third one, I was walking down the street.
To this day I still remember in great detail the moments when all of them happened, the shake, the smells, the glass exploding, the wooden window frames screeching, the scared faces of the people around me, buildings wiggling like willow trees in the wind or shaking as they were possessed by demons, lampposts that almost touched the top of larger cars, and cars on the road with drivers oblivious to the fact that a quake was going on thinking that something went wrong with their car’s steering.
The power (light) was the first to go. Communication with the outside world was second. Forget your cellphones. They rely on transmission towers too. In the darkness I could hear cabinets tilting over, I could feel the framed pictures hitting my shoulder while falling to the floor, and bumping into people that were as scared as I was. During my second one and after witnessing the rug in the big office room moving like the waves on a furious sea, I remember saying out loud "We’re F@*&d!"
Yap, that’s all I said folks, if I’m honest. Forget about what they say, that your life flashes in front of your eyes, a 64 frames per second movie of your life, grandpa and grandma, first kiss, first beer,.. It’s all pish. Good thing, the following day no one remembered what I said.
"We’re F*&*d!" And that my friends, was my philosophically best.
The interesting thing is that all these earthquakes seemed to have something in common. They all started sudden, there was a powerful wind out of the blue noticed even from the inside of a well noise insulated building, than the wind died as if disconnected from a wind machine abruptly. A hallow sound coming from nowhere followed. For a couple of minutes there was quietness in the air. And then the shake started.
You want my two cents on the future of Vancouver? I don’t know what to say, I cannot predicted it and I can’t give it to you. As a matter of fact nobody knows. If someone tells you the opposite they are lying to you. Maybe the Vision boys can. Telling the future is their racket for they seem to know a lot of things in advance.
In the same way Vancouver's leaders don't understand that the separated bike lanes they are planning for Vancouver, on some of the busiest streets, are going to become, death routes in the case of a major calamity.
There are many things to consider:
Logistically speaking, the quake time, of either day or night, is important. Response time and access to the Emergency crews matters the most.
You as a civilian being in the vicinity of a collapsed building don’t help. You can’t do Jack. Some creeps may take snapshots. That’s all. Watch the one in the following video:
- Distance from the Epicentre matters
- Depth at which the earthquake occurred is another important variable
- Duration (in seconds) of the tremor
- Type of the earthquake.
Concrete frame, wood frame, old vs. new (I saw new houses collapsed due to bad construction.
Falling debris. Panic. Looting. Fire. Hysteria. Worry for the family members and friends you cannot reach. Lack of communication. Luck. You have to be really lucky!
Remember, most of the public school buildings in Vancouver are still standing due to… gravity, and paint. Not a chance in Hell.
The West End have become so crowded, the biggest damage will come from falling debris, especially the LOL “Vision” glass, from the numerous condo-aquariums built in the past decade, rioting. The west side, parts of downtown and…the Olympic Village will wash their laundry in…public.
Far South, Richmond will become mush and you would wish not to be on a plane due for landing at the former YVR during the ‘happening’.
You have to take all the above into consideration. Add to that, a tsunami as a possibility and if you’re trapped your odds are pretty glum. Basically your chances for survival are as good as the first Response Services are organized and on how the City’s Administration is prepared to deal with a calamity. Speaking of which, if it happens today, all I can say is…
Our present leaders would rather spend the time planning for the new Green Religion and their biking Gurus, at expensive venues, wining and dining, where they could spread their chilling accounts of how our Carbon Footprint is too big for our own good.
People in general, think they can pull together the best evacuation plans and first aid schemes and bury the biggest pipes in the ground, earthquake proof… and it will still be good for Zip.
Check Elliot Lake for good measure.
Living in a tremor zone is like flies living around a horse’s butt. One shake of the tail and we all scatter any which way, then, for some reason we go back. Stupid, but this is who we are.
At least the flies don’t have to work and save for retirement and for the privilege of circumventing the butt…
Now you all sleep tight, and brainstorm for the new bike share plan instead, concentrate on repealing that BC Helmet Law, demolish the only way in & out of Downtown Vancouver East Side … the Viaducts, you know, the whole shebang!
Priorities and the money are somewhere else!
We live in Vancouver and this keeps us BIXI.
- post by Glissando Remmy