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Shake Rattle and Roll

Drizzle with a chance of earthquakes in the afternoon…

On Saturday morning I was asleep – I usually am, but I was late getting up and getting online.  I noticed that Skype was flashing a message – it was SY from Hospitalera Blogs asking if I was OK. Hmm I thought yes – why? I turned the radio on – it was talking about the big quake – obviously not  the long awaited Wellington earthquake, and was in fact a huge quake of 7.1 in Christchurch.

Its been an interesting few days – and I don’t just mean the minor earthquakes that we  have had in Wellington (and yes quakes do come in swarms, and no I didn’t even notice them).  Two things came out of this: trends blogging and business continuity and communications in the Twitter world.

Christchurch Wordsworth Colombo Streets (c) NZ Herald
Christchurch Wordsworth Colombo Streets (c) NZ Herald

Trends Blogging

OK in my defence I knew no one was dead – but my second thought was – hmmm wonder what happens if I Google “earthquake insurance New Zealand” -ah I find my own Earthquake Insurance  hubpage (which was written almost a year ago after Hubpages did a disaster hubmob) ranking just below the government site. Interesting because the hub was about earthquake insurance  in the US – but not specifically about earthquake insurance in NZ. So that wasn’t a difficult topic to choose.

When something like a earthquake in Christchurch happens – people want information – and they want it fast.  Turning on the radio was a good start – they apparently started broadcasting about 7am – 2.5 hours after the initial shock.  But finding virtually no information in Google on Christchurch related seismic terms and seeming my semi-related hubs ranking well told me what to write about. Why did I put the articles on hubpages – not here? Authority – I knew I’d get fast indexing and fast promotion – and I have every new earthquake related hub I’ve put up is ranking for at least long tails within 4-5 hours (as fast as the hubpages analytics could tell me).  Now if there were just some relevant ads…

My office before the Earthquake – honest!

Frankly for the traffic stats it would have been better if I live in California – but in real terms I am more than happy to live in New Zealand. For those of you who consider earthquakes as terrifying acts of God – you are right – unless you happen to live in a country with good building standards. Both the dismal Haiti quake and Christchurch’s quake where about the same magnitude and depth and proximity to a city. No one died in Christchurch, maybe 230,000 died with a further 300,000 were injured in Haiti. Three were seriously injured in Christchurch. Now OK the population of Christchurch is 400,000, Haiti had a lot more – but this is all about building standards. And anymore who thinks New Zealand building standards are over the top have probably been silenced for at least a generation.

Oh and there some disasters which are just too easy to predict … Meanwhile – if  I’m not online and there has been a quake in Wellington, I live and work in modern wooden house which is on bedrock and at the top of the hill – I will be fine 🙂

Online Business Continuity

One of the shocking stats coming out of Christchurch is that some small retailers will be bankrupt if their business is out of action for a week. Frankly I’m shocked I had no idea they lived so close to the line.  I’ve already proved that I can ignore my business for months. But what I will lose in an instant in a quake is power – which will stop my modem working instantly – even though the laptop would last for several hours (if it survived being thrown on the floor hmm).

In Christchurch the cell phones stayed up for several hours until the batteries operating the towers died. The traditional phone system lasted through out (though I suspect younger people discovered that there are phones that don’t need power). Maybe I need to remember how to connect via dial up (and a cable..) and/or a cell phone which knows about the Internet. Maybe I need a decent phone which could at least allow me to update Facebook and my blog.

I probably need some more cash too – I rarely have more than $50 in my wallet – and of course EFTPOS and ATMs need power and phone lines! I do actually have a cheque book – it would be interesting trying to persuade a retailer to take one though.

You see frankly if the big one does hit Wellington I’m not hanging around for the aftershocks and waiting for the essential services to be connected. If it hit during the day my partner will probably have to walk home from the CBD – it may take him 3 or 4 hours. Assuming that neither of us are injured  – we will be walking (the roads are a disaster waiting to happen and will be impassible to a cute little urban car) north until we can hitch and find civilization (aka Gin, broadband and power) – probably Levin or Palmerston North.  Our house is fully insured – I feel no need to hang around and protect if from – well exactly what?

Do me a favour – if in future you do hear about a big eathquake in Wellington (100% chance in the new 1000 years by the way) – and you haven’t heard from me online for 24 hours – please link to this post in the forums that are asking where is Lis, and put it on my facebook wall again.

Meanwhile what are your business continuity plans in the case of a natural disaster? Must admit its the first time I’ve really thought about it…

7 replies on “Shake Rattle and Roll”

Since the Ice Storm in 1998,
I always keep a small bacback ready with a survival kit: flashlight and radio working without batteries, protein bars, toothpaste, toothbrush, hand sanitizer, box of Kleenex, ziplock bags,1 change of clothing, 100 $ etc.

I also got a tiny computer always ready to go: Asus eee. All my important infos are on my Blackberry. So I can keep track of my activities on the Web with these 2 little friends. As I had to help a couple of people from my family being hospitalized, like I had to be “there” everyday for weeks at a time, I would be lost without those tools. Earthquakes, sometimes, take many forms.

Very important: a “safe” list of passwords for computer, ATM, etc. In period of great stress, one tends to forget that kind of stuff. 🙁

At home, I make sure that I always have a good supply of candles and camping lanterns plus water, a jar of protein powder and protein bars. Then I forget about it, because I know it’s there and I’m sort of ready to survive for few days if the sky falls on our head once more.

Glad to hear everything is all right. I read about New Zealand’s building standards, but I suppose the complete lack of deaths and low number of injuries speaks for itself. I haven’t thought much about the business side, but I guess the plus side of having been homeless and in life-or-death wilderness survival situations before is that I’m just not worried. There’s always a way to bounce back. Glad to hear you’re well. Cheers!

Rofl, Lis’ answer on Skype was something on the lines of ‘I guess there has been an earthquake in NZ?’ yawn included 😉 And yes, I will bookmark this blog post, but I really do hope that we don’t have to go and post the link on every forum you are active (how many are that?) and even on your facebook wall 😉 As for staying connected to the Internet, do you have USB Wifi Dongles in New Zealand? They might be a good backup solution for you? And as for ‘we will be walking … north until we can hitch and find civilization (aka Gin, broadband and power)” best bet in a survival situation is always to stay put – and to have a good emergency supply at home, i.e. water, food and — other essentials. Walking off into the unknown (you don’t know how the situation is in the lands in between after the catastrophe). And now I am off to check our own emergency supplies, we are not in an earthquake zone, but we do have frequent flooding here. Other problem, similar situation, SY

Oh its mainly just FB , hubpages and TKA these days – theres enough overlap to cover the others! Yeah WIFI is certainly around but its not great coverage -nothing like you have in Europe for example. Honestly I would head north (can’t go south – water!) – the aftershocks are really starting to freak Christchurch people out – and what no one has said yet on the news that they could easily go for a month. I do know that north would have less damage than Wellington – its further from any conceivably likely epicentre. Flooding in Prague =- better not be when I am there!

The USB dongles operates through the cell phone towers, so if they run dry of power, those won’t work anyway.

Not sure you could find a safe place in the world – safe from natural disasters that is. I live only a few km from one of NZ more active faultines – bigger than the Christchurch one and I will admit I hope it happens a long way into the future.

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