Full Rip

Warning to the husband: don’t read this post!

Though, really, it’s his fault. A couple nights ago he brought me home a book he’d found. Since I just wrote about an earthquake, he thought I’d find it interesting. But as he handed me the book he made a qualifying statement before releasing his grip. I wasn’t to share anything I read. He didn’t want to hear it. So since I can’t talk to him, I’ll share with you.

The book is called Full Rip 9.0 and is written by Sandi Doughton, a science writer for the Seattle Times. It was written in 2013 so a few things are outdated such as comments on the Alaska Way Viaduct in Seattle. But the writing style is easy and informative, and the science fascinating. It talks about how the science of earthquakes has evolved, and how recent such science actually is.

I hadn’t realized that it wasn’t until the 1980s that people started seriously researching the oral history of Native Americans and First Nations people along the western coast about the major earthquake of 1700. Until then, most of those stories were unknown to the wider audience and few outside the tribal historians knew the quake even happened.

I mean, geez, the 1980s were just yesterday. Weren’t they?

Lisa with Vega Holly's wedding

1980s glasses and a VERY stylish Vega. 

Of course, as always, reading such books makes me want to rush out to Costco and stock up. Until I think of the Costco parking lot on a typical Saturday and those few exits, and if the quake hit, how would all those cars get out? Look how they block up all the lanes just so they can grab a parking spot by the door. Think what they’d do if panicked.

Yep, you can drive yourself crazy thinking too much about this kind of stuff. As I always say, there’s a fine line between being prepared and being paranoid.

While reading the book, I have to keep pulling myself back over the line to the ‘being prepared’ side. I find myself leaning toward the paranoid side. Just a little. As in, I wonder how long it would take my husband to dig an old fashioned root cellar for all the canned goods?

(Just kidding in case he actually did read this post.)

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Our ‘back yard’

I’m not as prepared as I would like to be. But I am somewhat prepared. Are you? Especially those of you who live in cities and depend on that city to provide water and sewer and electricity and heat.

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Don’t be paranoid. Don’t drive yourself crazy thinking about all the what-if’s and letting your imagination sink to the dark scary thoughts. Instead, look for the simple, basic things you can do that might help make you a little safer if something does happen.

And we’re not talking just earthquakes here. Not even natural disasters in general. How many of you have been stuck in your car on the highway because all lanes have been shut down for a fatality and nothing will be moving for hours? In winter, wouldn’t it be nice to have a blanket, even if it’s an old smelly dog blanket from the floor of the back seat? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a flashlight if you get a flat tire at night?

I know, I know. I can hear some of you now thinking ‘I’ll use my cell phone and then just sit safely in the car until AAA gets there and changes the tire for me’.

Sure, you can do that.

As long as you have cell service or wifi where you are. Do you want to gamble that the place you get the flat tire is in an area with coverage? Or do you want to just toss a flashlight in your glovebox?

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The husband is prepared for medicinal emergencies

There are whole books written on bug-out bags. Seriously. Look them up. How involved the pack is depends on your circumstances. If you work a block from your house you’re not going to need something as substantial as say, me, who has forests, rivers, and bridges between me and home. Not to mention mountains that might release some slides.

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And don’t get me started on our floods…

Bug-out bags aren’t just for cars, either. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make a small one that hangs by each door, or by your bed. If your house catches on fire, such a bag might mean the difference between greeting firefighters in clothes or in your skin. (I’m flashing here on a call from my firefighting days when a certain person was pelting down the street in white underpants and nothing else.)

Or, the difference between a small escape bag by your door and digging through ash hoping your car keys survived, or your identification. Think of all the things you won’t be able to do without some proof of who you are.

Dad 1990 flood

Okay, I’m starting that lean over into the paranoid side.

Let’s pull back a little. Think about basics.

Fix your hot water tank to the wall. Put your fire safe with valuables against an exterior wall, not an interior wall (inner walls burn hotter and longer). Have an extra copy of your glasses prescription some place like a bug-out bag. Keep an extra dog leash handy, or a pet carrier. Make a safe check-in point for all family members.

Don’t be paranoid. Just be smart.

8th grade camping 001

Hanging tent poles from your backpack wasn’t exactly the smartest…we did warn him.

And man, don’t read that Full Rip book unless you want to have your brain flooded with these kinds of thoughts late at night. I’m almost done and when I am, no more earthquake stories. I think I’ll pull out my old Borrowers series by Mary Norton that I’ve had since childhood.

Then all I’ll have to worry about late at night is if the evil Hendreary is going to catch Pod and Homily.

Of course, they would have benefited from a bug-out bag when those floorboards were lifted up.

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Walking home

7 thoughts on “Full Rip

  1. Cute picture of you!! 🙂 and the guys too 🙂
    I will not read that book then. The one story “Life as we knew it” already freaked me out back when you recommended it to me. Then your book and I am now living here in Earthquake country… Why did I ever decide that? Both books are really good though!! 😉 Sometimes you just need to read or watch scary stuff in the day, not at night and tell yourself its just fiction. Dont think about it too much!

    • You kind of bring up an interesting point. Knowing you, I know you have a bug-out bag in your car, so you’re thinking ahead even though you are freaked out. But so many people will pull the ‘ostrich’ deal and put their heads in the sand because it’s too scary to think about. Or because it’s too overwhelming. That’s where they need to step back, and then take one tiny step, like a flashlight in the glovebox. And then another tiny step like a blanket in the trunk. Whittle the fear away in increments.

  2. Nick Zentner from Central Washington Univ. does a whole bunch of geology lectures on YouTube that are about an hour long. They very informative and entertaining. Of course he does a lecture on earthquakes, too, and talks about “The Big One”. Knowledge helps the paranoia, by the way. Good advice to be prepared — it won’t take The Big One to wreak havoc! Here’s his site (click on “lectures” and scroll to “Great Earthquakes of the Pacific Northwest”). https://nickzentner.com

  3. You give great advice. I’ve never heard the term”bug out bag”. I’ve mentioned before I’m in hurricane country and am prepared to hunker down, not leave. My sister never leaves the house without a few bottles of water in her car and a granola bar.

    • I think my biggest worry is if something happens when I’m not home. Home is prepared, the wider world isn’t. Which is where the bug out bags come in handy, having them in your car. If you had to walk home, that pack will be invaluable when you have to ‘bug out’. And I just have to say here, hurricanes terrify me! That and tornadoes. You’re a brave person.

  4. Your advice of having handy items in your trunk reminded me of my mom. She was a bit on the paranoid side when it came to survival. Remember Y2K? She was a religious woman and listened to a lot of evangelists who had her convinced it was practically the end. We noticed her car not looking right and my dad had her open the trunk only to find it crammed full of blankets, water, food and all kinds of things needed – or not needed even. It was making the car low in the back because of all the weight! Well as you know, Y2K came and went and everyone still had their bank accounts and nothing went to all zeros. Seriously though, a little preparedness is a good thing. My dad still reminds me of the Boy Scout motto – “Be Prepared”. Good advice.

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