by Virginia Postrel • Sep 26, 2003 at 4:19 pm
Reader Sean Kinsell writes from Tokyo:
Actually, NHK had a fascinating special on a few weeks ago about that very subject. It was the kind of thing you write about: how neighborhood groups with day-to-day knowledge of their own little parts of Tokyo--hospital administrators and fire companies and schools and such--were learning from Kobe and Sendai how to make sure they were better prepared for the next big quake here than the government-approved planning left them. One neighborhood changed its evacuation route after a drill that was aided by a model of how fires would spread, and so on. Of course, almost none of our power lines are buried, so a skein of live wires is going to collapse on our heads the minute we go outdoors after a quake, anyway.
The first rule of earthquake survival, at least in California, is stay inside. The buildings are built to stay up, and falling debris--never mind power lines--will get you if you go outside.