U.S. emergency preparedness

Comments from CNN, Morgan Piers show,  about the U.S.’s disaster preparedness.

Irwin Redlener, Director of Columbia U’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness:

  • Says FEMA is much improved since Hurricane Katrina, more professional.
  • Japanese citizens and gov’t are far more prepared for disaster than those in U.S.
  • “We have grossly under-invested in some of the actual structures and systems that we’ll need to have in place if we have a major disaster. For example, our health and hospital systems are really unprepared to deal with any kind of major disaster and it has to do with our unwillingness to really invest and make sure those systems can surge up when they need to.

Craig Fugate, director of FEMA:

  • US Geological survey maps seismic risks, but other places like central U.S. does not meet specs, generally around inactive faults e.g. South Carolina.
  • Working with private sector and retailers so they’ll help move supplies, have right things on hand.
  • Personal preparedness, need plan: see ready.gov (?)
  • “As much as people say, ‘Well, it would never happen in my community,’ low-probability, high-consequence events is why we have to build the depth and the capability to respond as a nation.”

Now why can’t people apply that last to the probability of global warming?


We are being governed by criminals

The Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party, and the Bloc Québecois have been holding talks about forming a coalition government to replace the the Conservatives, who have a minority government. It is entirely legal and appropriate for them to explore options.

Now it turns out that the Conservatives bugged their conference rooms, recorded their talks, and have now released some recordings. It is illegal to record other people’s conversations without their knowledge or consent.

We are being governed by criminals.

Emergency preparedness

I hope this is part of an obsolete emergency plan.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Earthquakes in New York?

There’s a long article on the chance of an earthquake hitting New York City: low but devastating, I gather. From the Gotham City Gazette:

A recent report by leading seismologists associated with Columbia University… concludes a serious quake is likely to hit the area.

…the size and density of New York City puts it at a higher risk of damage. The type of earthquake most likely to occur here would mean that even a fairly small event could have a big impact.

“The issue with earthquakes in this region is that they tend to be shallow and close to the surface,” explains Leonardo Seeber, a coauthor of the report. “That means objects at the surface are closer to the source. And that means even small earthquakes can be damaging.”

Some buildings have been reinforced to withstand earthquakes. But is it enough? The Gazette article refers to an article by Columbia University’s Earth Institute: “Earthquakes may endanger New York…”
They supplied this diagram:

All known quakes, greater New York-Philadelphia area, 1677-2004, graded by magnitude (M). Peekskill, N.Y., near Indian Point nuclear power plant, is denoted as Pe.

All known quakes, greater New York-Philadelphia area, 1677-2004, graded by magnitude (M). Peekskill, N.Y., near Indian Point nuclear power plant, is denoted as Pe.

Hat tip to Ontario-geofish.

Live Webcast August 19: ensuring continuity of operations

You can sign up here.

Overview: Disasters come in all shapes and sizes and you never really know exactly when or how they’re going to happen. Unfortunately, they are most likely going to happen at some point in time and how you respond may very well impact the day-to-day operations of your business. One thing’s for certain, whether it’s something as simple as a hardware malfunction or something as big as a natural disaster, there are very clear steps that you can take to protect your business from an IT catastrophe.

TechRepublic is proud to present Ensuring Continuity of Operations, an on-demand online event about the challenges and rewards of proper preparation, response and recovery. Listen to this on-demand Webcast to:

  • Learn about the different types of threats to your infrastructure, applications and services as well as ways to best assess your vulnerability
  • Discover the best practices and lessons learned for proper preparation, response and recovery
  • Gain a better understanding of the unique considerations and strategies for call centers and data centers as well as remote and branch office locations

You may not know whether disaster will ever strike your operations but, let’s face it, leaving your fate to chance just isn’t an option. Ensuring Continuity of Operations is an essential opportunity for anyone who would rather place their fates “and their fortunes” in their own well-prepared hands as opposed to taking chances.

Earthquake is felt across China

A powerful earthquake, magnitude 7.9, near Sichuan has killed at least 10,000 people and numbers are expected to rise. In Beichuan, 80% of the buildings collapsed. It struck in the early afternoon when people were at work and at school. When schools collapsed, hundreds of students were killed. Two chemical plants have also collapsed. There is no news from the epicentre of the quake, which is a relatively remote and mountainous area, about 100 km northwest of Chengdu. Roads are damaged. In contrast to Burma, China has mounted a massive rescue effort. The Red Cross Society of China are bringing in blankets and assessing the situation with the help of a disaster management expert from the international organization. Volunteers and the Chinese army are pressing towards Beichuan on foot. China is relatively lucky in that it practises disaster recovery regularly and also has been preparing for any eventuality during the Olympics.

Chinese quake 2008 near Chengdu, ruins of a hospital

This is the strongest earthquake since 1976. The earthquake was felt in Peking, a thousand kilometers away. Aftershocks have been felt about every 20 minutes and survivors are sleeping outdoors for fear of further building collapses. Harold Asmis of Ontario-geofish estimates that the epicentre might be as much as 30 km deep.

The New York Times has a good link.

Remembering space shuttle Challenger

John B. Sandlin as a ‘Simpsons’ characterOn 28 January, 1986, John B. Sandlin was in the air force and working at Vandenberg Air Force Base in the U.S. He has written about his experiences that day.

Interestingly, news of the disaster crashed a phone system on the base.

Conclusion: people who design systems should prepare them for unusual demand and not just typical demand.

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