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Archive for the ‘Earthquakes’ Category

Earthquake Response Guide

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

PJ Grier, EP&R liaison at SE/A, sent along this earthquake response guide from the University of Maryland. I think it is very well written, providing all pertinent information on one page.


Earthquake Damage at McKeldin Library, Univ. of Maryland

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Thanks to PJ Grier, SE/A Outreach/Access Coordinator, for sending along this link to photographs of earthquake damage sustained yesterday at the McKeldin Library at the University of Maryland.  Click on this URL ( to view a news report of the event from WTOP.



Reflections on Yesterday’s Earthquake

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

All is returning to normal around here after yesterday’s earthquake and aftershocks.  Fortunately, there have been no injury reports and minimal structural damage.   However, we shouldn’t take this event lightly.  Many folks were quite shaken, some terrified, as they tried to make sense of what was happening around them.  Up until now, we have had little reason to drill for an earthquake, so most people were left to decide for themselves whether to stay in a building or leave.  Moreover, cell phone service wasn’t working as the system was overloaded with calls to family and friends, creating an even greater level of anxiety.  In Charlottesville, all 911 emergency telephone lines temporarily went down and residence were asked to call an alternative number.  Fifty miles from here, two nuclear reactors were automatically taken offline, and on West Main Street, just a few blocks from the University Hospital, a gas leak closed the area to traffic for several hours.

The likelihood of another earthquake of this magnitude for this area is probably statistically slim.   However, other events, such as a shooter or a bombing, can occur suddenly and leave us in a similar state: confused and unable to act objectively.  This Mid-Atlantic earthquake gives us all a chance to pause and consider how we might respond to a sudden disastrous event; an event that will likely require clear thinking and competent leadership in order to avoid injuries and fatalities.

Mid-Atlantic Region 5.9 Earthquake

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

While our attention was focused on the potential impact of Hurricane Irene, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck the Mid-Atlantic region with its epicenter at Mineral, Virginia.  Mineral is about 35 miles from my location in Charlottesville.  I didn’t feel it because I was walking across campus to attend a meeting;  however, staff here at the UVA Health Sciences Library reported heavy shaking and an overall scary event.  Fortunately, I have heard no reports of any injuries and buildings are being checked for any structural damage.

We’re not accustomed to earthquakes of this magnitude, and many of us will be performing After Action Reviews in the near future to assess how we responded to the event and determine if any adjustments need to be made.

Added note: After I heard about the earthquake I used my cell phone to call our Service Desk and was unable to get through.  I tried a number of times with various numbers in the library and none of the calls went through.  Remember, you may not be able to use your cell phone following some kind of shared dangerous or potentially dangerous event like an earthquake when everyone is calling others to see if they are okay.

A recent news release from FEMA regarding cell phone usage:

“Due to overload of cell phone usage, there are reports of cell phone congestion.  We request that members of the public use email or text messages if possible to communicate for the next few hours, except in cases of emergency, so that emergency officials can continue to receive and respond to urgent calls. We encourage everyone in the affected areas to listen to the direction of their local officials. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”