The probability of catastrophic outcomes from an earthquake is diminishing every year because of many important recent developments. Here are 10:
1. A rapid increase in the study of earthquakes by universities and governments.
2. New technologies that permit the creation of accurate scientific data regarding earthquakes.
3. The consensus in the public as to the certainty of earthquakes in the future and the need to take action to avoid against extremely negative outcomes.
4. The progress being made towards early detection systems. Governments are going to great lengths to place sensors in many places but significantly in seabeds and near volcanoes. Also, they are requiring large-scale drilling operations to monitor their activity with ground motion sensors.
5. Early warnings, once the systems are set up, can be distributed through SMS (text) to every cell phone in the impacted area much like authorities have been doing to combat tornado, flood and fire disasters in the United States.
6. Public drills are often conducted on an annual basis in many jurisdictions. Very often the organizers provide advice not only as what to do when the earth shakes but what to do to guard against tsunami.
7. Homeowners are buying earthquake survival kits.
8. Building codes and fire codes are being updated to improve seismic resilience. Elevators in earthquake zones now must have a seismic event device.
9. Most municipalities, provincial and state governments and all federal governments have Emergency Preparedness departments.
10. Industry is responding to the demand for earthquake resilience by providing innovative products like our QuakeSmart device or Home Depot's Little Firefighter.
Diarmuid D. O'Dea