MacGyver Didn’t Prepare me for an Earthquake

I think of myself as a pretty resourceful guy, and handy with duct tape and a pair pliers. When a deer charged my car and knocked my rearview mirror off a few months ago, I was able to fix it myself just fine. But as a new resident of the state of California, I’m starting to realize that I am not really ready to deal with EVERY problem.  A large earthquake is going to hit California in the near future,  a fact confirmed recently by scientists and researchers. So how should I react when it happens?

The Earthquake Flowchart I made

The Earthquake Flowchart I made

This is the question I asked myself last week, to which I had no definitive answer. Unlike many other dangerous situations, watching episodes of MacGyver had not prepared me for an earthquake. Therefore, I decided to search the net for earthquake safety tips. I have distilled my findings into the following blog post.  Continue reading

Be a Helpful Neighbor – what would you do in a storm?

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What would you do in a storm to help your neighbors? The team at Recovers.org is pleased to announced the launch of the Helpful Neighbor Campaign. By visiting http://Neighbor.Recovers.org  signing up with your zipcode and email, you are pledging to be just a little bit more prepared. For each participant in the campaign, the team at Recovers will donate $1 to Hurricane Sandy recovery, up to $5,000.

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It takes a local: Recovers honored at Women in the World Summit

Recovers co-founders Caitria and Morgan O’Neill took a quick trip to New York City this weekend to attend and accept an award at the 2013 Women in the World Summit. The summit, now in its 4th year, brings together lady-changemakers from all over the world to discuss issues of importance to people everywhere. These are women fighting crime, challenging poverty and building stronger communities.

We were honored and humbled to have been included as awardees of this year’s Mother of Invention Award and $50,000 grant for development. Both the grant and the recognition will help our organization expand and assist many more communities preparing for and recovering from disasters.

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Watch the interview with co-founders Caitria and Morgan by actress Claire Danes

At the summit, we announced the launch of the new Helpful Neighbor Campaign. By visiting the site and signing up with your zipcode and email, you are pledging to be just a little bit more prepared. For each participant in the campaign, the Team at Recovers will donate $1 to Hurricane Sandy recovery, up to $5,000.

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San Francisco, a city that knows its faults

Low vacancy, so many homeless people, beautiful old buildings, shuttle busses to silicon valley… and warning, I’m going to talk about earthquakes. If it gets scary, stick with me: there’s good news at the end, ways to better understand the specific risks facing San Francisco, and some easy places to start.

Let’s Talk Numbers
After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, 11,500 Bay Area housing units were uninhabitable. If there was an earthquake today, the current estimate (from Spur) is that 25% of SF’s population would be displaced for anywhere between a few days to a few years. However, San Francisco’s top shelter capacity can only serve roughly 7.5% of the overall population. And that is only for short term stays in places like Moscone center. So where would the remaining 17.5% of the population go?

1. Some people may decide to leave the city and start over somewhere else (something called “outmigration”, which is not ideal for the economic health of a city).

2. And some people take longer term housing in vacant units around the city. But this is particularly tough in SF because vacancy is currently at an all time low of about 4.2% vacant units.

3. This brings us to the most ideal scenario: staying put. Something referred to in the emergency management world as “shelter-in-place.”

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What is Shelter-in-Place?
Shelter-in-place is “a resident’s ability to remain in his or her home while it is being repaired after an earthquake — not just for hours or days after an event, but for the months it may take to get back to normal. For a building to have shelter-in-place capacity, it must be strong enough to withstand a major earthquake without substantial structural damage. […] residents who are sheltering in place will need to be within walking distance of a neighborhood center that can help meet basic needs not available within their homes.”

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