All posts by monty

Family Preparedness

One of our biggest problems was that we did not have any form of communication plan. Now we do. The daughter will go straight to her dads house which is close to the school. Mom or I will pick her up, or have grandma do it if we are unable. She knows to keep her phone on, and only answer mom, grandma or myself. This is the best we can do since we all work in response.


Was it easy or difficult to find your community’s plan? Describe how long it took, or in the extreme case, that you never actually found it online.

I have an advantage in this areas considering that for the past 2 years I have been working towards my bachelors in EM, so I already have the site bookmarked on my computer. It is fairly simple to find though. A simple google search of Spokane Disaster Plan will bring up the City Emergency Management Site which lists all the plans the city, as well as outlying towns have in the county. There is also areas for individual and business preparedness as well as volunteer opportunities.

  1. Describe one thing you think shows your community is well-prepared in case of a disaster

I think my area is as prepared as it can be without actually having been faced with a big disaster. I know members who were part of the Cascadia Rising Exercise and the AAR showed that the entire state was unprepared for something of this magnitude. I think the area handles small incidents fairly well. Making information available to the public is a good start. I also have the benefit of knowing the a few of the emergency managers, and know their capabilities.

  1. Describe one way you think an improvement could be made to your community’s plan.

The biggest issue I have with our plan is that we focus so much on some things and not enough on others. Again for my degree I have had to do research on vulnerabilities of the area, and the biggest one I could find locally is our transportation network. We all rely heavily on the main freeway that cuts the city in half. Without it we would have bumper to bumper traffic and nothing would move. The city of Spokane is not bad, but outlying town that are very close are not prepared enough in my opinion, even the town that I am a firefighter in. If outlying areas had a big incident occur, it would draw heavily on city resources. This limits firefighters, ems personnel, as well as law enforcement. If we had multiple incidents across the county, we would have some problems. Especially during winter, considering our snow removal plan is not adequate.

  1. Answer the following question: Do you feel better or worse about how well your community is prepared after reading it’s plan?

As a citizen I feel that my community is pretty well off, however, as a fire officer, and a EM major, I know we have some serious work to do. I would like to see more being done, however, we can only do what we can. As a citizen with no background, I would feel pretty confident. The plans all read easy and seem detailed enough to make average people feel good.


  1. Why have we not had such severe floods since 1967?


After the flood, and due to the Flood Acts of 68, money was available for the Chena River Lakes Flood Control Project which displaces water to the Tanana River when water rises. The Tanana River uses dikes to help protect Fairbanks.


  1. Briefly describe at least one positive outcome that emerged as a result of the flood damage and losses.


Anytime something like this occurs, the resilience of a community is tested. Those who can weather the storm, come out more prepared in the future. Citizens raised money to assists local business, and they also helped fund the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. The citizens took it upon themselves mostly to get back on their feet, which makes them better prepared in the future. This is always a plus.

Summary of Main Point

This whole article is tied directly to economic inequality. Essentially the author is talking about how although wealthier communities may sustain more fiscal damage during a disaster, it is the poorer communities that must cope with the majority of hardships. The author discusses just how poorer communities may face more risk, however, they are not helpless when it comes to an incident.

Key Points Relative to Economic Inequality 

  1. Households with more financial buffers will handle a disaster better. The example given is that a household with farm animals for example, can sell those animals if their crop is destroyed. They have a safety net provided by their assets.
  2. “Poverty and inequality drive vulnerability, but even the vulnerable have some capacities to cope with disasters (Wisner, et al., 2012). Strengthening these capacities, so long as they address needs and disaster risk in the long-term, and not simply the short-term, can enable communities to recover from disasters.” (Prevention Web)
  3. Impoverished people have a higher risk during disasters due to the inability to live outside of hazard prone areas. The idea is basically that the wealthy can afford to live in safer areas, and provide more protection for themselves if they choose to live in hazardous areas.

Article Selection

I chose this article because it directly relates to our topic. Basically it discusses how poverty influences the hazards that a community will be faced with. Think of Hurricane Katrina. Yes the US sustained an extensive amount of damage. However, lets apply the same force of Katrina to lets say Haiti. Although the financial destruction may be more in the US, the loss of life will surely be greater in Haiti. They do not have the infrastructure, or the abilities that the US has to respond to a disaster of this magnitude.


1) How much water was released during the dam failure?

12.6 billion gallons of water was released into the canyon.

2) How were people downstream warned of the coming flood, once people realized what was happening?

Phone operators phoned communities in the path and highway patrol members rode around with sirens.

3) Take a little tour in Google Earth in the region, by searching for St Francis Dam.  From your search, can you figure out how the water is now stored in this region to serve LA?

From living in CA I know a majority of water comes from the Colorado. The bypass of the Saltan Sea near Indio is one reason the “sea” is drying up. I noticed various aqueducts around LA, but as far as storing the quantity of water they need I did not find a location so I googled it. The LADWP website lists water coming from the Colorado, California Aqueduct from NorCal and ground water, but I could not find an actual answer as to storage. The LADWP does list Lake Oroville in NorCal but that seems to be to far away for storage considering it takes 16 days for water to travel the length of the aqueduct.


The biggest thing that I learned was that San Diego and Tijuana are working together for resilience in handling 6.9+ magnitude earthquakes. I found this to be interesting. We do not hear much about national cooperation between the US and Mexico, especially when it comes to disasters. Mexico is not a country that I would look at as being ahead of us in earthquake detection, until reading about how Mexico has early warning systems and we do not. Just goes to show that the US is not as advanced as we think we are.

The biggest issue my community has is dealing with snow and wind storms as of recently, and of course wildfires. In 2015 we had a wind storm that took out power for dozens of residents for weeks. The storm also took out numerous trees, and actually killed some residents. One thing the community could do is take a more proactive approach to eliminating hazard trees, and developing better plans to handle power outages. When it comes to wildfires, fuel mitigation would greatly assist the area, however, it seems that funding is always an issue.

Human Impact of Landers Quake

Reinhold, R. “Most Powerful Quake in 40 Years Hits California”.  The New York Times. Jun. 29, 1992. Accessed Mar. 30, 2018.

“Two big quakes rock California”. Published 2009. Accessed Mar. 30, 2018.

Moore, S. “Landers Earthquake: Days of fear and unity”. Hi-Desert Star. Jun. 30, 2017. Accessed Mar. 30, 2018.

Edgell, P/ “Woman remembers Landers earthquake as ‘scariest thing’ ever experienced”. Jun. 28, 2017. Accessed Mar. 30, 2018.

“Landers Earthquake: Days of fear and unity”

This is by far the best article I found on the human impact felt by locals during the repercussions of the 1992 Landers Earthquake. Although the article was written in 2017, it captures the hardships felt by the small desert communities. The 3 year old that died from a chimney collapse, how 40% of residents had no water due to ruptured pipes, how the middle school I attended growing up became a shelter, and much more. It also talks about how local volunteers banded together to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries for the residents who had to put their lives on hold for the emergency. This is the all about the human impact of the earthquake, and also includes a timeline and key events by the U.S.G.S.


1) What are atmospheric rivers? About how often do megafloods impact the California and western states regions?

Long regions in the atmosphere that transport large amounts of vapor, a “river in the sky”. 30-50% of annual precipitation is brought on by these events. According to Ingram, geologic evidence shows a “mega flood” every 100-200 years, although the last one was in 1861.

2) Approximately how extensive was the 1861-62 event in terms of geography? (ie which states and countries were impacted)?

LA received 66 in of rainfall, flooding and creating lakes throughout the Mojave Desert area. Anaheim, and the Santa Ana river flooded. The Sierra Nevada’s received up to 15 in of snow. The Feather, American and Yuba rivers flooded. American river levees failed and flooded Sacramento. “They were the worst in recorded history over much of the American West, including northern Mexico, Oregon, Washington State and into British Columbia, as well as reaching inland into Nevada, Utah and Arizona.” (Ingram)

3) How well do you think the public is aware of the mega flood hazard, compared with earthquake hazards, in California and other western states?

Originally coming from California, I would say that they are oblivious to massive flooding. Growing up and in school I cannot recall ever hearing about this great flooding, or even atmospheric rivers. Earthquakes were the big talk when I was growing up. Coming from the Mojave Desert we knew there was flooding, because any time we had a serious rainfall our town would flood. That was never attributed to extreme weather or anything like that, just the fact that our town was no built to handle that much rainfall. This was a great assignment and it is sad that I am just hearing about this having come from California.

Landers 1992

Now the Landers Earthquake in 1992, So. California is well documented due to the intensity, coupled with the lack of destruction. So, there are numerous maps. Many of the maps found show the fault line rupture relative to the area.

Here is one that shows the magnitudes in April and July 1992.

Map from AGU 100, the Trembling Earth.

Another map that I found I like more because it shows pictures of different spots around the fault line. This map is from the Southern California Earthquake Data Center.

I tried to find actual maps from the USGS, however all the links I found were expired.

This map is not as useful as the first, yet both are actually lacking information. This map does do a better job at showing the rupture zone, yet the first map shows the locations of other quakes in the area in April and July which could be quite helpful.


EOTW Early Warning


The P Wave of an Earthquake is much faster than the S wave which causes the most damage. Basically, sensors detect the P wave and alert a center which send out updates to people via cell or computer about intensity and expected arrival.

Mexico, Japan, Turkey, Romania, China, Italy, and Taiwan all have EEW’s. Mexico’s has been in operation since 1991. Japan has the most sophisticated system which has been issuing public alerts since 2007.

A news article about the earthquake in Mexico in September 2017. “In video from Mexico City, which saw the highest casualties in Tuesday’s quake, early warning sirens blare for at least 20 seconds before the shaking begins.” (Coren)

Here is the article link

I find it pretty amazing that the US is not one of the countries with an active EEW system. I never would have guessed this.