November 10th, 2010 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP

The Big Quake: Is Your Furniture Bolted?

Recent news about the eruption of Mount Merapi in Indonesia reminded us of a WW cover story this year about the Northwest's own looming natural disaster—a massive earthquake scientists warn is already overdue.

So we were reassured but somewhat bemused last week when we ran across this flyer about earthquake preparedness (PDF) in the Multnomah County Courthouse. State and county administrators have long expressed concern that the heavily trafficked 96-year-old courthouse would not withstand a big quake.

Earthquake preparedness is a serious issue. But the National Fire Protection Association seems a bit quaint in its advice for how to "ride out an earthquake," as the flyer puts it. (Is the poor courthouse staff really expected to "ride out" eight stories of marble and concrete crashing on their heads?)

Some of the advice is obvious, such as "the least safe place is directly outside of a building." But we hadn't before considered the suggestion to bolt all of our bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to the wall—or to strap the water heater to wall studs.

We'll put it on our list for this weekend. After the Ducks game against California at Berkeley, which has had its own history surviving The Big One.
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