Technical Rescue, Truck Company

EARTHQUAKES: LESSONS FROM THE PAST, PART 1

Issue 6 and Volume 153.

One of the most important lessons from recent earthquakes in Taiwan (September 1999), Athens (September 1999), and Turkey (August 1999) is this: No single government has all the answers or all the resources to manage the worst earthquake disasters likely to strike in the future. Based on the damage sustained in these three earthquakes, as well as those in Kobe (1995), Armenia (1988), and other seismic hot spots, Southern Californians and others living in quake-prone regions should be prepared for something exceptionally horrific, including life loss that may greatly exceed any previous U.S. disaster. Every damaging earthquake is a sort of library, a storehouse of lessons for those in search of them. The problem is quantifying these lessons in a meaningful way, then determining how society should weave them into the fabric of modern daily life, commerce, and governance in a manner that will prevent the unnecessary loss of lives…

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