Experts have been predicting it for decades, saying we’re all “way overdue.” But what if your family survived the “Big One” but was caught completely off guard?
That means no earthquake kit, no Emergency plan, and no way to get out of town.
News Channel 3 will put that scenario to the test with an unprecedented three day exercise on surviving the next big earthquake.
These are the guidelines for our 72 hour experiment beginning Monday night:
All powered appliances are not usable. They will either be unplugged or shut off. Water faucets will not be used. With no power, air conditioning and heating are shut off. With no power, all lights are off or unplugged. Only one battery-powered flashlight is available. Two candles are also available. The subject (reporter Nathan Baca) will need to make do with whatever bottled water on hand. For this experiment, four half-liter bottles will need to be stretched to last for three days.
The refrigerator will be out of power. Inside the refrigerator will be supplies typical of a person who went grocery shopping a few days prior.
Those refrigerator items will include:
One half carton of milk; One bottle of juice, mostly filled; Two half liter bottles of soda; Two small yogurts; One packet of carrots; One packet of salad; A frozen TV dinner.
Kitchen cabinets will also have food, including:
One large bag of pretzels; One small can of almonds; Two apples; One banana; Two small boxes of raisins; Three cookies in a tray; A can of soup; A can of vegetables.
The bathroom will not be part of this experiment. To comply with workplace safety guidelines, toilets will be used as normal. The bathroom water faucet is to be used only for washing of hands after toilet usage and to supply water used for the taking of necessary medicine. The shower and bath will not be used.
Sleeping arrangements for two will be in the living room with a couch turning into a cot. Sleep will be interrupted at random times on all three nights for “aftershock” scenarios.
The landline phone will be unplugged while awake. When going to sleep, the landline phone will be plugged in again. The KESQ Morning News Producer will call the landline number at random times through the night to simulate an aftershock. After answering the phone, I will need to get up and stand in doorways for one minute. After that, I will have to walk outside the apartment and check the outside area for “damage.” This will disrupt sleep multiple times each night.
I will be unable to make and receive cell phone calls other than emergencies. KESQ Management and family emergency phone calls will be allowed. All other phone calls will be ignored to simulate the shutdown of cell phone networks after a major earthquake.
Much of my time will be spent inside. No items in the apartment will be damaged or knocked over to simulate the earthquake. But some fragile items inside will be moved out of site to simulate it’s destruction in the event of a quake. Other books, magazines, and entertainment items will also be “damaged by the quake.”
Portable electronic items will be limited. One portable MP3 player will be available. They will only be half charged. There will be no battery powered radio.
I will have the opportunity to leave the apartment and go outside. I cannot get in a car. I cannot interact with other people other than KESQ employees and Apartment Complex Management. If I am approached by other people while outside, I will limit contact. I will not ask about news or developments other than those pertaining to the scenario. This will simulate the lack of outside news that may happen in the event of “the Big One.”
Common reasons to go outside are to walk around the apartment complex and walk to assist the KESQ News crews parked outside. All efforts will be made to stay inside within the view of the KESQ.com webcam as long as possible.
One walk to the nearest CalFire station a quarter of a mile away during the 72 hours will be allowed. We will be able to ask for an “emergency ration” of some water and a portable meal. In the event of an actual earthquake, CalFire would be unlikely to provide emergency food rations to unprepared neighbors.
In short, by the third day, I will be sleep-deprived, emotional, smelly, uncomfortable, hungry and thirsty. I will have to make tough decisions on how to ration what food and water I have… and it will all unfold live.