Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Earthquake Followup -- Digital and NonDigital Resources

Parenting during a mild/moderate earthquake -- any teachable moments? 5.4 (not gigantic) earthquake caused all sorts of consternation in my 100-year old 2-story house. First, I wasn't home, so my kids called me on the cell immediately. By the time I got home, my husband had fielded calls from my sister overseas and his mom in the central valley.

Lesson #1 -- The Phone. It is good to know where everyone is. The phone system evidently was stressed even by this level of activity, so good to be able to call OUTSIDE the area. My sister is our outside-of-California contact. Cell phone systems are reputed to be robust in such a circumstance, but Verizon Wireless anecdotally was supposedly stressed to points of non performance even with this low level (read "none") of damage. Officially, their representative, Bill Kula, told Associated Press that the landline systems were stressed in that area, but cell was fine.

Lesson #2 -- In this day and age, how to find out what is going on. Good old Radio. KPCC, NPR radio, fairly quickly came to a 5.8 (later revised to 5.4) and Chino Hills epicenter. The family at home had shifted to TV, which just had talking heads. Twitter had some good echos from friends and turned out to be a good way to get a quick word out that everything was fine.

Lesson #3 -- Good online sources. IF you keep your power and broadband service, do remember the great resources at Cal Tech and US Geological Survey. The latter has great tools at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/dyfi/ -- "Do You Feel It?" Survey. You can log what you experienced and they use it for planning and information. Pretty cool! You can show your kids what it looked like on an experience map, then go look at other (bigger) quakes. You can also check out all the aftershocks.

They also have a great toolset of information for kids, good especially if it is their first quake: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learning/kids

My son thought it was fun. All my kids found the doorways, so I guess I'm glad for small favors in that this provided good practice. Lovely Southern California...

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