5 December 2011 at
1:35 pm (UTC +8 hours) by Nathaniel Forbes
Published in the Singapore Business Review, 5 December 2011 http://bit.ly/vIPCg0
I believe Singapore will eventually experience a severe earthquake. I’m not a pessimist; I’m a realist. You can’t live 400 hundred kilometers from a major earthquake fault and say there is no risk of earthquake.
The kitchen drawers in my 23rd floor Singapore home rolled open by themselves in the “tremor” from Sumatra in February 2008. That was a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. What happens after one that’s 8.0? Or 9.0, like Fukushima?
You understand that 9.0 is one hundred times stronger than 7.0, right?
As an organizational resilience professional, I imagine these consequences in Singapore:
• Civil Defense focused on high-priority locations. Ambulances simply unavailable
• Damaged office towers too risky to re-enter, and BCA inspectors overwhelmed
• Hundreds of employees and customers injured by falling glass
• Broken telecom lines and jammed mobile circuits
• Collapsed or buried segments of MRT track, and impassable road surfaces
• Damaged water, sewer and electric power lines
• Thousands of people trying to acquire drinking water
• Toilets that flush once but don’t refill
• Panic cash withdrawals from ATMs, only some of which will be functioning Read more... (673 words, 1 image, estimated 2:42 mins reading time)
16 July 2010 at
4:38 pm (UTC +8 hours) by Nathaniel Forbes
I found this poster last month on a wall in a corporate training facility in Singapore. Do you think its publishers take earthquakes seriously? Read more... (772 words, 1 image, estimated 3:05 mins reading time)
- The poster is on A4 size (letter-size) paper, so you have to be within 60 cm (2 feet) of it to read it. The text is in a 10-point san-serif font, too small to be read easily (at least by me).
- Notice the word “tremors” in the headline. That word perpetuates the absurd – and in my opinion, misleading and therefore dangerous – official fiction here that there has never been an earthquake in Singapore. That shaking that swayed my 16th-floor apartment in February 2008 so much that the kitchen draws rolled open? Not an earthquake. Just a “tremor.”
- The poster includes six (6) childish images by cartoonist and illustrator Miel Prudencio Ma. He seems to be the default cartoonist for Singapore government posters. From public toilets to public parks, if a government poster uses cartoons, they’re his work.
- The sub-head is “Precautions You Can Take” for “tremors.” Quick, what precautions does it recommend? OK, take a few minutes to read it. Now, what precautions does it recommend? I can’t tell, either.
- HDB apparently recommends you protect yourself from falling debris in an earthquake with an umbrella (middle right image). If not, then why is the woman holding an umbrella to protect herself from a falling plant?
23 August 2007 at
2:57 pm (UTC +8 hours) by Nathaniel Forbes
I receive email warnings from the U.S. National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Tsunami Warning Center about earthquakes that might cause tsunami events in the Pacific Rim. The service is fast, free and helpful to emergency response authorities.
Just since late July I’ve received alerts for several earthquakes: two in the South Pacific, two in the Aleutian Islands (Alaska), the big one off the coast of Peru. The PTWC warnings are text-based so they can be received on the lowest common technology denominator, I suppose. The alerts contain no HTML links to the PTWC web site where you could see maps showing the locations of earthquakes.
So I can find it hard to place an event’s latitude and longitude in my mind – “2.7 NORTH 127.5 EAST”, for example. Most people can picture “the coast of Peru,” but I must admit I’m a bit hazy about “North Moluccan Sea.”
Where is that, anyway?
You can find out quickly and simply, and in stunning detail, in Google Earth. Download and install Google Earth (15 megabytes) onto your computer. It’s free. And sign up to receive the PTWC alerts by email. They’re free. too. Then wait for an alert message to show up in your mailbox.
Inside each alert you’ll find data for these parameters: Read more... (479 words, 0 images, estimated 1:55 mins reading time)