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Content Notes for "In the Tremor of the Earthquake" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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Content Notes for "In the Tremor of the Earthquake"
Here are the content notes for "In the Tremor of the Earthquake."


"Looking back across the long cycles of change through which the land has been shaped into its present form, let us realise that these geographical revolutions are not events wholly of the dim past, but that they are still in progress. So slow and measured has been their march, that even from the earliest times of human history they seem hardly to have advanced at all. But none the less are they surely and steadily transpiring around us. In the fall of rain and the flow of rivers, in the bubble of springs and the silence of frost, in the quiet creep of glaciers and the tumultuous rush of ocean waves, in the tremor of the earthquake and the outburst of the volcano, we may recognise the same play of terrestrial forces by which the framework of the continents has been step by step evolved."
-- Earthquake Quotations

See the location of Mercedes in California and in Merced County. This is a city map.

In Mercedes, the earthquake strikes at 4:00:15 PM with 3.9 magnitude and intensity III, enough to rattle things slightly. The shaking only lasts a few seconds. The only damage is to things already unstable (like a chipped window breaking) or precarious (like a sloppy pile of books falling over).

Mercedes at 4:00:15 PM has a 3.9 earthquake with intensity III.

3.0 – 3.9 about 100,000 II – III minor – noticed by a few people

II. Felt only by a few persons at rest, especially on upper floors of buildings.
III. Felt quite noticeably by persons indoors, especially on upper floors of buildings. Many people do not recognize it as an earthquake. Standing motor cars may rock slightly. Vibrations similar to the passing of a truck. Duration estimated.

Read about the Central Valley South scenario with maps for probability of shaking and historical epicenters.


Lake Tahoe has many tourist attractions and other things to do. Check out the Truckee Attractions. Here is a map of tourist attractions in California and the location of Lake Tahoe in California.

Tahoe City
Magnitude 5.9 and intensity VII, lasting for 25 seconds.

5.0 – 5.9 about 1,000 VI – VII moderate – felt by most people, possible broken plaster and chimneys

VI. Felt by all, many frightened. Some heavy furniture moved; a few instances of fallen plaster. Damage slight.
VII. Damage negligible in buildings of good design and construction; slight to moderate in well-built ordinary structures; considerable damage in poorly built or badly designed structures; some chimneys broken.

Read about the High Sierra earthquake scenario with maps for probability of shaking and historical epicenters.


See the location of Richmond in America, in California, and in the Bay Area.

In Richmond, California the earthquake is 6.9 with intensity IX. The shaking lasts for 42 seconds.

6.0 – 6.9 about 130 VII – IX strong – damage variable depending on building construction and substrate

VII. Damage negligible in buildings of good design and construction; slight to moderate in well-built ordinary structures; considerable damage in poorly built or badly designed structures; some chimneys broken.
VIII. Damage slight in specially designed structures; considerable damage in ordinary substantial buildings with partial collapse. Damage great in poorly built structures. Fall of chimneys, factory stacks, columns, monuments, walls. Heavy furniture overturned.
IX. Damage considerable in specially designed structures; well-designed frame structures thrown out of plumb. Damage great in substantial buildings, with partial collapse. Buildings shifted off foundations.


Emergency notification systems aid coordination in times of crisis. Consider selling points and best practices before choosing one. Some can also be used for other communication purposes. Here are some popular emergency notification systems.

M-FYN in T-America is one of several programs designed to identify survivors immediately after a disaster and help them contact friends or family. Registered members can log in from any device to record their status. The original release just offered "I'm fine" but quickly expanded to "I need assistance," "I'm fine," and "I can help." Later upgrades added more options such as "In care," "Missing," and "Confirmed dead." Those account not just for personal updates but also official ones. After logging their basic status, members can add details like their current location and anything they need (e.g. a place to stay, clothes, emergency funds). Members can also link accounts to friends and family in the network, to receive notifications of safety or need after an incident. An array of Mute tools can be set in different ways to account for mass-casualty events, such as turning off alerts about nearby members to avoid getting deluged with messages, or turning them down to just immediate family. The original acronym stands for Massacre-Find Your Name, and is pronounced "I'm fine."

Earthquake-resistant furniture comes in various styles. Obviously T-America has better designs than here, even before you get into the gizmotronic stuff.

Bulletproof furniture includes ballistic panels and sometimes storage space. Check out these chairs.

(These links are sad.)
The human impact of disasters can be tremendous. One key difference between L-American and T-American disaster response is the handling of refugees. L-America tends to keep them close to ground zero in makeshift shelters. T-America acts to move people fast and far from danger. If the disaster is localized, people are moved to nearby cities; if statewide, to surrounding states. Regional disasters transport people all across the country. For anyone whose "sister city" is outside the affected area, they follow the predetermined plans for taking refuge there, and many T-American cities have such arrangements. The West Coast has two primary dangers, of which earthquakes can hit anytime and wildfires peak in summer. So most of their sister cities are in the northerly parts of the central and eastern regions where the key threat is winter storms. That means a lot of refugees will be pouring east into a system of shelters and other resources ready to receive them. Citizen Emergency Response Training offers one way to prepare.

(These are just appalling).
America has history in this regard. The Dust Bowl was a catastrophic environmental disaster. It triggered waves of mass migration, as shown in these photos. Instead of help from neighboring stages, the environmental refugees were met with extreme hostility. And these weren't global refugees -- they were American citizens, internally displaced persons. The damage hasn't faded entirely; my Californian friends tell me that terms like "Okie-rigged" are still in use today. The government made some efforts to address the problems of the Dust Bowl, but ultimately failed to prevent the wholesale devastation of lives. Look at L-America today and you can see shoddy disaster response, completely unprepared to handle large-scale scenarios. T-America does better, but even they will need a lot of help.

Emergency preparedness largely began with Civil Defense. In local-America it hasn't developed into a very cohesive system, as much of it fell apart after the Cold War ended. In Terramagne-America they have a thriving system of bunkers useful in all types of emergency, and people generally have a good level of family preparation. Emergency response includes making plans for businesses and events in case of mishap. Terramagne divides emergencies into two broad categories based on response: evacuation vs. shelter.

Being a hero, or a superhero, requires understanding how to handle emergencies.

Emergency supplies are essential in earthquake areas. Soup to Nuts stocks emergency supplies because they're first responders. Shelter-in-place kits come in various sizes, like this 25-person 3-day set. In T-American slang, these are called ship buckets. The incident command station enables localized organization of resources. The trauma first aid station includes modular first aid kits with various themes and evacuation stretchers. A typical triage scene gets messy fast, but organization helps a lot. The triage kit includes tarps with numbered spaces along with other supplies. A treatment area flag kit identifies areas within the first aid section. This is the first aid station tent. Each of the compass rose rugs has its own GPS beacon for teleporters. A dry-erase command board helps with logistics. Field command vests identify people in charge of various tasks. Some titles are standardized but the vests can also be customized. A field incident command flag kit identifies different stations.

(Messy medical details here.)
Triage is the process of separating casualties according to severity. This flow chart gives an example of how it works. You can see the opportunity for mistakes -- an unconscious person might seem much worse than they are, while a walking person might be quite badly hurt but too shocky to feel the pain. (Note that some groups, such as soldiers and people living with chronic pain, may obscure quite serious injuries for different reasons.) Triage sacrifices precision for speed in hope of saving as many people as possible. It mostly works. Triage tags record information on the scene for use in sorting casualties and treating them at a hospital. A simple tag such as MET is good for major disasters or nonmedical responders such as police, and is usually the kind included in disaster response kits. A more complex tag such as AIIRisk is good for local disasters or trained medics. These tags can also be paired in primary/secondary triage with large numbers of casualties waiting.

The Ultimate Survival Kit covers 7 people for up to 3 days. The High Risk Remote Area Softpack First Aid Kit covers up to 10 people in remote areas. By stocking these in mass quantities, Soup to Nuts can efficiently distribute supplies as teleporters come and go.



See Havilah's Beaches Heal Everything T-shirt. Here are Obduro and Reseda's Her Tank / His Healer shirts. This is Baldric's healer shirt.

San Bernardino is not a great place to live.

Por cojones
literally, "for testicles"
colloquially "...with no other choice"

Overstrain is a condition in which using superpowers beyond safe limits begins to cause problems. At lower levels, normal expression of powers tapers off, such as a glow diminishing or going out because there's no excess to tap off that way. Then comes tiredness, general achiness, and slow or fuzzy thinking. Using superpowers becomes uncomfortable and then painful. The most famous symptom is a terrible headache, similar to a migraine, which does not respond well to most medications. At higher levels, nosebleeds or fainting can occur. Sometimes people get other symptoms particular to their abilities. Overstrain usually builds up slowly from using superpowers too long, but it can happen quickly from pushing them too hard. Much like use of physical abilities, attempting to exceed your limits can cause ruptures in painful places. It is possible, though not common, for people to die of overstrain; rather like pushing oneself into a heart attack. The most important treatment is rest, preferably somewhere dark and quiet. Blue chamomile helps somewhat. Prescription-strength painkillers may or may not take the edge off, and are more useful for helping the victim sleep through the worst of the misery.

Power incontinence can happen for a variety of reasons. Among those is that any power which requires some concentration to control can go haywire when the person is exhausted, mentally impaired, or unconscious.

Signature injuries from earthquakes include fractures, dislocations, and head wounds caused by foreign objects or crushing. The first step after the shaking stops is to check for injuries and give first aid as needed.

Empathic contusion is an injury caused by the crushing weight of negative emotions. A less clinical term is empathic bruising. Empaths can be harmed by emotional pressure. Mild cases aren't much worse than what happens to ordinary people, and the superpower will heal itself in about as much time as it takes for a physical bruise of similar size. Worse cases can occur during disasters or other occasions where extreme distress affects large numbers of people. Empaths caught in that can be seriously injured, because a shield can only fend off so much pressure before it breaks. Treatment typically consists of blue chamomile and other soothing herbs, stronger painkillers if necessary, insulation from negative emotions, and sometimes positive emotions to lean on if desired. Talk therapy can help restore a sense of self and select coping skills. In extreme cases, superpowered assistance may be needed such as another empath, a mindhealer, or a power healer.

"Everything Is Awful and I'm Not Okay" gives a list of practical care questions and suggested actions for times of distress. It works for care of self or others. If you just memorize this list, you've got a basic care plan for catastrophes small or large.

This service cart has three shelves with deep pans and big wheels. Aside from their general usefulness in restaurants, they're ideal for disaster work because they're rugged enough to go over rough ground and they can carry a lot of weight securely.

Easily digestible foods include rice, eggs, onions, carrots, tofu, and ginger. Mood-boosting foods include eggs and bell peppers. Soothing foods include eggs, leafy greens like napa cabbage, and soybeans. During an emergency, serving healthy foods with these traits can help people cope better. Junk food can make physical and emotional symptoms worse, and it provides little nourishment.

Tofu Fried Rice includes rice, eggs, carrots, onions, tofu, ginger. Spring Rolls with Pork and Shrimp make another good choice with bell pepper, carrot, and napa cabbage.

Honey has many health benefits. It is better than processed sweeteners.

Green tea is good for you. It is an adaptogen that helps the body and mind to cope with all kinds of challenges. Black tea has similar benefits. Ginseng is another beneficial herb with adaptogenic qualities. Drinking tea or water is better for health. Soda and energy drinks can cause all kinds of problems.

Mindfulness exercises soothe the mind, body, and emotions. These include body scan meditation and mindful eating.

Rule #1: Don't make yourself another casualty. T-America teaches responders to take care of themselves during an emergency, including breaks for food and rest. You can't help anyone else if you keel over from hunger, exhaustion, or emotional overwhelm. L-America has rampant problems with health issues among first responders.

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