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Friday, October 9, 2009

The Great California ShakeOut: Earthquake Prep as Curriculum


In 1989, I was at the ball game when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit. Magnitude 7.2 or 6.8, I am not sure what they decided it was, but it was BIG!

We came out from the stands and saw what looked like all of San Francisco on fire. We could see the helicopters by the Bay Bridge and smoke rising from the Cypress Structure in Oakland. It took us hours to get home and I lived less than five miles away.

I grew up in California and I have been through dozens of quakes, but after that one, I had a new found respect for the suckers. As a result of that quake, the company I worked for ended up closing, I moved to Santa Cruz (hey, had to be safer now right - the big one already happened) and life changed completely. My mom worked for the State Attorney General and read the reports from the survivors and non-survivors of the Cypress structure (the freeway that pancaked people in-between layers of concrete) and the stories she shared were horrific.

Needless to say, I take quakes seriously and with the Great California ShakeOut coming this week, it seemed like a good time to do a little home schooling around the event. As we learned from Nova ScienceNow, we aren't the only ones who need to prepare - apparently the risk of an earthquake in the Midwest is pretty high - overdue in fact - so we invite you to join us in our preparation! 

Earthquake Preparedness Home School Style

Geology: Katie will be studying how earthquakes work at an activity session at our Home School center. That will help her understand the how and why.

History: the poor kid will have to listen to me and my mom talk about what happened and how it changed things as we relive the events of October 17, 1989.

Social Studies: is really around family and doing some planning. We'll start with the guide: Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety.

First - Katie will work with me to create a disaster preparedness plan for our home. She'll probably do one with gramma as well and share it with her uncles.

Second - I am having Katie drive family participation in completing a communication plan that we'll share with one another. Everyone will complete the plan and then share the pertinent details with one another. Most important is having a contact in another state that we will all try to call.

In 1989, the folks I knew in Chicago had to call my mom in Sacramento to tell her I was okay because we couldn't make calls inside the state (but out of state worked fine!). [There's also a Red Cross "I'm Okay" site where everyone should try to post if they survive a disaster.]

This is actually a lot of work and I hope she's able to get her uncles on board with this. I don't look forward to living through another big one, but considering where we live, there's always a chance. Are you ready for the next big one? What are you doing to prepare? Let us know - we are always looking for good ideas!
 

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