Sunday, January 10, 2010

Quake Miscellany

I'm fit to be tied after reading the Topix comments (at least the first dozen, or so) to the Times- Standard's article and follow up on the earthquake. Seems most people are intent on bashing the T-S for what they deem to be poor reporting and being "scooped" by media from outside the area. What these people don't seem to recognize is that those other news media didn't have to do their jobs directly at ground zero in the aftermath of a major earthquake.
Phone problems? I read some mention in the T-S story of someone saying their phone wasn't working. Maybe it's a problem with the phone lines, but check your other phones if you have more than one. That was our problem. Our downstairs phone wouldn't work, although internet worked fine. Finally realized the upstairs phone was off the hook after falling off a table. Problem solved.
This could of really sucked. At least in didn't happen at 2 in the morning, or when it was raining.
Local governments often offer free building inspections after big earthquakes. Think twice about accepting one. If they think your home is unsafe they can force you out of your home.

We had one done after the '92 quake. He found the house safe enough but told us we needed to get a building permit to take down our chimney. The permit was free for earthquake damage, but it was just a hassle. If we hadn't of called him I would of just taken the chimney down.

Same thing if you have earthquake insurance. Think twice before calling a claims adjuster. We had quake insurance back in the '92 quake, which caused considerable damage to our home. We called State Farm to have the damage assessed. The assessor gal spent a couple hours in our dinky house and found damage we hadn't noticed. The total cost came in just below our $6k deductible.

The bad part of it was she went back to the company and reported what she thought were unsafe conditions in the house that were outside the purview of earthquake insurance- a blocked doorway (to the right of where I'm sitting right now) is one I recall. She recommended the house policy be reassessed, or some such, which I'm guessing meant we should be paying higher premiums.

Turned out the local agent just came by, took some pictures of the house, and that was it. I suspect we owe the local agent for not dinging us and raising our insurance rates as they never changed. The door in question is still blocked. There's at least three other ways out of this room, one directly to the back yard.
I got to thinking yesterday, what ever happened to my earthquake proofing plan I got started on years ago? I wanted to secure things around the house so things wouldn't break like they did yesterday. One thing I was going to do was put latches on the cupboards in the kitchen so the doors wouldn't fly open in an earthquake.

I ended up getting a couple of those hook and eye things from the hardware store so, when you close the cupboard, you can secure the hook the the eye and the door won't open. I only ended up doing the two cupboards next to the sink that hold all our dishes. Then I forgot about them.

Could of saved a few things from breaking if I'd have used them regularly and on all the cupboards. They're latched closed now. I need to find some industrial strength velcro now. That can be used to secure televisions and such to whatever they're sitting on.
Oh, and I almost forgot: Looking at the photos in the Times- Standard this morning, I noticed at least some folks in Henderson Center were covering windows with plywood. Where'd the plywood come from all of the sudden? I guess there was probably still time to go buy some?
And speaking of covering up broken windows, I came up with a unique way to cover a few windows at the Matteolis: Old election signs.

He had maybe 3 medium sized windows that there wasn't much left of. I suggested some cardboard or a tarp. Marc went to look and see what he had available and I went back to my house to see what I had. I noticed a couple of old "No On Measure T" yard signs I'd saved from way back then. They were the larger ones about 4'x5'(?). I thought they might just fill the gap and, even better, they were made to handle weather.

They worked quite well in covering up the window space. For the last big hole, I brought over 3 "Anton For Assembly" signs. They were the more standard sized yard signs. We taped the 3 of them together and they covered up the hole quite nicely. Good enough for a temporary fix, anyway.



At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I glad there was no major loss of life and limb. We were driving down to SF at the time the quake hit. We heard about the big quake when our travel companions got a cell phone call informing them that their restaurant in Eureka had to be closed down so they could clean up the damages. It became clear that getting info from our local news sources is pretty spotty. I logged on to the Time-Standard website several hours after the event. Their reporting was pretty sparse. It seemed to consist of a few limited details about damage and it was mentioned that the Police Scanner was very active. In other words their investigation seemed to consist of sitting around listening to the local emergency radio chatter. At the same time, via a Google search I was able to pick up a lot more detail and I was also able to see pictures of damages. This information was coming in via individuals and outside news sources. By 9 AM this morning the T-S website was still stuck on yesterdays news and had posted no updates for today.

At 10:07 AM, Blogger Ernie Branscomb said...

Good advice Fred! Don't call anybody about anything until you think real hard about the consequences. In 1964, after the flood, I knew a man that lost half of his ranch to flood erosion. Because of his loss, he requested a county reassessment. They came out and did a reassessment, but they DOUBLED his taxes.

At 10:40 AM, Blogger Fred said...

By 9 AM this morning the T-S website was still stuck on yesterdays news and had posted no updates for today..

And, again, the folks at the Times- Standard were stuck dealing with this under less than optimum circumstances while the media from out of town sat at their desks with full power and access to all kinds of information. It was probably easier for them to get some local info than it was for people here dealing with it.

At 11:00 AM, OpenID insidesunvalley said...

Are you saying the Times Standard was being harassed for being a shitty newspaper? Wow, what a total surprise. That's not exactly new information

At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In today's T-S read that they were without power and moved the reporters to complete their stories to Fairhaven.

On several of the blogs I logged into after the quake, there were only one or two posts as some probably didn't have power or their internet service had gone down. Seems like a lot of people started posting after an hour or two and said their power had been off. I think the T-S was doing the best it could under the circumstances in trying to cover the quake.

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Fred said...

I think the T-S was doing the best it could under the circumstances in trying to cover the quake.

And keep in mind, as pointed out elsewhere, the T-S folks might have had their own homes to check on, too.

At 3:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My earlier statements criticizing the T-S were premature. Now that they have gotten their latest news posted online it is clear that they really did have a lot to deal with in therms of earthquake related problems just as Fred suggested. I apologize for jumping the gun.

At 1:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For my part, I think it's too early to sweep this problem under the rug. If our local media is not capable of serving the information needs of their subcribers and viewers during the most dangerous events of our lives (Earthquakes in '92 and Saturday), what needs to be done to fix this recurring problem? The public needs to pay more attention to this problem, which means they need to know more, not less, about Saturday's news reporting fiasco.

I got more information Saturday from the San Jose Mercury News online than I have yet gotten from the Times-Standard online, a service I pay for.

That's just not right. Humboldters deserve better. We deserve a full accounting of what went wrong. Then we need to figure out how to solve this problem before the next big disaster hits us.

At 5:48 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Ok. Then let's start by you telling us exactly how you would of handled your job at the Times- Standard if you were in their position.

At 12:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, Fred. First I need to know what happened that interfered with the public's Right to Know what the most powerful earthquake in nearly twenty years had done to our local communities.

Then I will have enough information to judge whether the Times-Standard, Channel 3, and other news outlets did their jobs as well as they could have done - or not.

The Times-Standard's explanation has been thin and Channel 3 has offered no explanation that I have heard except that the power was out.

If either news organization made any heroic efforts to get news of the quake damage to the people here, I have not heard about it.

Glossing over what was effectively a news blackout during a time of natural disaster may suit the needs of the T-S and the Channel 3 organizations, but it does not serve the needs of the people of the North Coast.

In 1992, many of us were left wondering for hours whether our loved ones in the Ferndale and Petrolia areas were dead or alive. The local news media coverage for many hours after those quakes was nearly non-existent.

As in 1992, some radio station inserted quake news between song sets, which required listeners to endure long stretches of music when hard news was needed right away.

Maybe I was foolish to think the mainstream media such as the Times-Standard and Channel 3 News would be able to do a better job reporting this earthquake in the hours following the disaster. I thought they might have found ways - sometime during the seventeen (17) years since April 1992 - to report such disasters in a more thorough and timely manner.

I was wrong. I was too optimistic.

And now, I make a reasonable request: Will someone honestly and forthrightly tell the people what happened to deprive residents of the North Coast of the hard news we needed most urgently in the time immediately following Saturday's earthquake?

Because if we don't know what happened this past weekend, how can any of us have any confidence that the news media will perform more effectively when the next disaster hits us? And next time, the consequences of such a lack of timely news could put people's lives in danger.

At 12:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To continue the thought about earthquake preparedness, PG&E and AT&T did a fantastic job of preparation for this disaster. In 1992, the phones were out of order for many hours, leading to anguish on the part of many about their loved ones locally. This time, the phones were back in operation within a few minutes here where I live in central Eureka. A few quick phone calls helped us determine that our loved ones, while shaken, were safe. That fact alone meant hundreds of auto trips to check on relatives and friends were avoided, cutting down on traffic.

So, my thanks go out to all the people of PG&E and AT&T at all levels of the organizations who participated in strengthening and improving our energy and communications infrastructure against outages during natural disasters.

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Our power went out. Never heard exactly why, but some said the power poles snapped in some places.

Got incoming calls on the landline phone, cellphones were jammed, I guess, because some worked and some didn't. Kids in LA heard about it within minutes. Twitter and texting.

There was alot going on - with all the various agencies and PG&E - and I love the pics of the TS getting the paper out against the odds, Good work, guys. That's the stuff that makes it fun - and we all were looking forward to your coverage the next day.


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