Tremors are here to stay

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.

Anyhoo…

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.

MISCELLANEOUS:

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!

Now, do you feel lucky? Do you?

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…

“We’re F@*&*d!”

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

Wino with a shotgun
Mayor's task force overlooks major tool to address housing affordability

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  • gman

    Good post Glissy,it seems you shake things up where ever you go.But on a more serious note it does put things in perspective.I remember a while back when the water was turbid and in about four hours it was difficult to buy a bottle of water anywhere downtown.Another thing is you wont have any money with the grid down no credit cards either,even if some stores did survive.The store shelves will empty faster than hyper inflation in Belarus caused.I think about this a lot and yes I am a bit of a prepper ,my family and I all have bugout bags ready and I have various plans and methods and vehicles to get the hell out of dodge,most likely we will be walking.People get ugly in a hurry especially if they have young children.Emergency workers and police all have families to that they will be drawn back to so we could be left in a very volatile situation.Being unprepared and hopeing for the best wont cut it,but I still hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

  • “Tokyo residents haunted by the memory of how the March 11 earthquake shut the world’s busiest subway system are returning to bicycle travel, doubling the sales of retailer Asahi Co. in the area last month.”

    Some separated bike paths and plenty of cycles on hand will be a positive thing if/when we face a major natural disaster. From experience I know that I can carry at least a week’s worth of supplies and camping gear — on my regular bicycle that’s normally used for everyday travel.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-18/japan-bicycle-retailer-s-sales-triple-as-commuters-haunted-by-earthquake.html

  • Steven Forth

    Thanks Mr. Remmy. Iam going to restock our kits this morning and check ourr emergency stores. I will also takes Chris Keam’s advice and put more supplies in my commuting pack. My wife was in Tokyo during last year’s earthquake, it took a six hour walk around the palac to get to a place where she could find shelter for the night and more than 24 hours to get back to her brother’s house. Bikes were a great help in Tokyo right after the earthquauke with most transit down, traffic signals off and general chaos. More bike lanes would have helped too. http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/03/the_mood_in_tokyo_one_week_aft.html

  • Terry M

    Great story Gliss! I would not ever want to be caught in the middle of something like an earthquake!
    Thanks for the info on so many unknowns during and after a shake.
    I agree with the fact that separated bike lanes are a physical barrier to rescue efforts god forbid to be the one caught under a pile of rubble and the help to start removing the barrier first.
    I think that is what Glissando is saying here, Steven F and Chris K, and he is not arguing what one is able to do with a bike after…
    So before playing again the roles of attack puddles think a little 🙂
    BTW have anyone noticed the guy in the first video, the one that basically cheated death when the two stories building collapsed on his head? Few seconds later he can be seen coming out of a cloud of dust and rubble as if nothing happened! That was amazing!I agree wih gman… You are the Master Shaker of things where ever you go. Cheers!

    • Terry M

      Note to Steven and Chris
      I called you attack puddles, I want to retract that. Should have read your links beforehand. I apologize… The rest of my comment, stays.

    • Natalie

      Terry, you are right! The guy in the video that crosses the street and takes shelter in a small doorframe of the building that collapses has 9 lives! And then he gets away from the wreckage as it was nothing… WOW!
      Good catch Terry!

  • Natalie

    When Glissando writes satire he is very funny. When he is not he writes … terri-funnying!
    This was a wake up post! Thanks Mr.Remmy.

  • Vancouver Kiddo

    Finally something worth reading from Glissando Remmy! I am looking forward to more stories like this one,, Mr. Remmy!

  • JJ

    Thanks Glissy for this unexpected account. I’ll be carrying with me a bottle of water and a few energy bars from now on. And hope it never happens to me…
    To Terry M above… Me too I have to say, the guy in the video was “F%#*ing” lucky 🙂

  • Higgins

    Following City Caucus announcement I just wanted to say I’m going to miss your posts, Glissy!
    Your witty, astute comments was one of the many reasons I browsed City Caucus!
    Thanks.

  • gman

    Glissy I would like to echo what Higgins said.You are an honest broker of truth and a realist I respect very much.Read you later where ever it may be.

  • Ned

    Glissy, Glissy, Glissy just like Higgy and gman before me… what they said! Right when I was looking forward to your next installment … “Tremors are here to stay” happens! 🙂 Premonition or not, you nailed this one! I know I’ll be hearing (reading) from you. Cheers!

  • Thought of The Night

    “Good Night, and Good Luck!”

    Thanks guys.
    Thanks for your kind words.

    FWIW, gman… I was just about to start writing a post titled “The ELITIST CYCLIST” based on your Washington demographic video link, and I was contemplating on how to give you the credit for that, so here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2_t4oLzj7E
    Thanks, gman, for that. Quite telling.

    Thank you to all of you who ever commented on any of my posts or comments.
    FYI, I’ll still be kicking tires around the blogosphere, so this is not the last you heard of me.
    That’s a Glissando Remmy guarantee! 🙂

    Till we meet again though, you all take care. and remember…

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

    • gman

      Its worth a lot Glissy thanks.
      Maybe the cover photo could be of one of the cities many homeless sitting crumpled on the sidewalk taken through the spokes of a passing BIXI bike ridden by a man in a three piece suit.
      We live in Vancouver and it drives me crazy.