The benefits of predicting the probability of the next major earthquake
The underlying thought of predicting hazards is to safe lives and economic values.Knowledge is the basis for any kind of protection or even prevention. Since attempts toprevent earthquakes have proved unsuccesful, predicting them and warning people is theonly effective measure to date. Possible methods are the gap theory which uses 'locked'areas as a criterion (long-time) or measuring foreshocks and observing unusual animalbehaviour shortly before an earthquake happens.Safe predictions are probably the first step needed to arouse the attention of thegovernment and its people. Richer countries may modify the event, i.e. build aseismicbuildings, or work for the preparedness of its emergency services (i.e. they should be builtin an earthquake-safe area, thus be accessible and have specific technology) andpopulation (see below). Poorer countries have at least the opportunity to safe livesthrough reasonable land-use planing.An alternative to predicting how strong an earthquake will be is to construct a hazard zonemap which identifies the most hazardeous areas (those where the impact will bestrongest) through taking into account the type of soil, the assumed strength of shaking,the likelihood of landslides and so on.Whatever system is being used: the bottom line is that improved seismic monitoring leadsto improved decision-making!
Preperations for the family – What preperations can be made for anearthquake? Will these preperations make a difference?
An protection plan could look like this:1.Identify potential hazards in your home (e.g. loose and heavy objects or rigid gaspipes) and begin to fix them (e.g. buy 'smart meters' which automatically cut off the gas line in an earthquake).2.Create a disaster-preparedness plan, know exactly what to do during theearthquake.3.Hold a first-aid kit at home.4.Protect yourself during earthquake shaking: „Drop, cover and hold on“