Earthquake preparations & safety drills

Earthquake preparation in Valencia region
(Plan Especial frente al riesgo sísmico en la Comunitat Valenciana)


The earthquake assessment plan for the Valencia region is a fairly substantial document – and I don’t expect your reading to include all of it! – but it is a good example of a well worked out plan for this region, historically the most seismically active region of Spain.   Prediction is impossible, as you know, but probability is an important aspect of preparation.

Remember to include building assessment in your list of things people can do to manage seismic hazards.  The Valencia plan is a good example of this: one of the interesting tables is the comparison of hospitals, showing how each major hospital would stand up to an earthquake.  The plan also shows the responsibilities of the various state agencies in the aftermath of a quake.

In Alicante  in January 2015 a quake in Los Montesinos was 3.3 on the Richter scale and three other quakes took place across the Valencia region within a couple of days; none higher than 2.2  The last damaging quake in the region was May 2011 in Lorca (Murcia) which left several dead and thousands homeless.

The Torrevieja earthquake of 21 March 1829 was the last major seismic disaster to hit the region and that was 6.6 on the Richter scale (estimated, as there was no seismic instrumentation in those times) and demolished 2,965 houses and killed 386 people.

The probability assessment is a very complicated mathematical model, but it is provided here for interest: you do not need to get a headache reading it! probability seismic assessment for South East Spain

California and Oklahoma earthquake drills

The following video shows school children being drilled to get under their desks in the event of an earthquake. In this news report, it appears that a small quake actually took place minutes after the drill.

Security camera footage of well drilled Tangshan (Japan) school students in actual earthquake.  Note how they all adopt the DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON drill, exactly as in the California drill above.


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