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Archive for the ‘Disasters’ Category

 

fire fireman

First things first: I’m okay and so is my own apartment. No property loss, don’t have to relocate. I was lucky. Not so much the guy who started the blaze, however. We’ll get back to that.

About 7 PM last night, while I was fixing dinner, the alarm bells went off outside my front door. Didn’t think much of it at first, since there have been false alarms in the past, but then I heard noise in the hallway and popped my head out… and smelled smoke.

This one was for real.

I grabbed my laptop and USB drive (to access important papers I keep online and my bank account) and headed out to the street. It looked like a disaster movie outside: three full engine companies had showed up and were already attacking the fire. I could see smoke pouring from one apartment, and it billowed out the openings at the end of the hallway like smoke pouring form an old coal-burning engine, black and thick.

Like I said, I was lucky. Though only a few doors down the hall from me, there were two closed fire doors in between, keeping the smoke out. And LAFD responded so fast and put the fire out so quickly that it didn’t spread from the original unit, though the hallway is black with smoke stains, and the people below have water damage.

The moron who started the fire, however, paid a price. Apparently my guess was right. Per the LAFD, a fire started in the kitchen, a grease fire, and he tried to put it out by throwing water on it. It probably blew up in his face like this:

Hence he is now in the hospital with burns to his arms and head. And probably facing lawsuits. Idiot.

(In case you think I’m being callous, I do sympathize with him for his injuries, but he damn near burned me out, too. So sympathy is limited.)

I did feel sorry for the animals, too. I saw one woman desperately trying to get her cat into a carrier (It was probably thinking “We’re going to the Vet? NOW???”), and a poor border collie was just shaking with fear as its owner tried to calm it. All the noise and the smells were probably too much for it.

Some observations:

  • Fire doors are good things. I will never complain about them being closed and annoying again.
  • Everyone needs basic fire extinguisher training and have a fire extinguisher in their kitchen. I’ve been trained, but my extinguisher is overdue for replacement.
  • I also need a “go bag” ready for an emergency evacuation. I knew what I wanted to save, and I got out pretty quickly, but, had I been forced to relocate, I’d have had only the clothes I was wearing.
  • Whatever the favorite charity is for the Los Angeles Fire Department, it’s getting a donation from me.

So, let’s see. I get sick Friday and my building nearly burns down Saturday. I wonder what Sunday has in store?

Don’t answer that.

PS: The apartment where the fire started is locked up, naturally, but I’ll see if I can get some decent pictures of other parts..

PPS: Got some pictures.

Fire casa de vida apt door

That’s what’s left of the front door of the apartment.

fire casa de vida hallway

Black is not the original color for this hallway, trust me.

fire casa de vida fire door

The fire door did its job.

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You’ve no doubt heard of the massive quake in Japan yesterday. Magnitude 8.9, aftershocks over magnitude 7 on the scale, killer tidal waves — yeah, the Japanese are having a real bad day.

There’s plenty of information out on the web, but I wanted to share this one in particular, via Hot Air: an animation by NOAA of the wave effect as it bounced back and forth across the Pacific. Like ripples in a pond… except we’re talking about the biggest ocean on the planet:

“Impressive” doesn’t describe it by half.

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Awww… nuts! You mean I bought an auto-shotgun, chainsaw, and flamethrower for nothing? Dude!

Here’s one reason:

#6: They Can’t Take the Heat

It’s generally accepted by zombie experts that they’re going to continue to rot, even as they shamble around the streets. What the movies fail to convey, however, is the gruesome yet strangely hilarious effect the hot sun has on a rotting corpse.

The first concern is putrefaction. Thanks to the plethora of bacteria we use in our colon for digesting plant matter, called gut flora, our bodies are ripe for decay the second our heart stops. Since heat speeds the growth of bacteria (which are plenty happy to start feasting on you once your immune system is no longer a concern) the zombie’s got a looming expiration date the very second it turns.

Dead bodies bloat because of the gases created by the bacteria, meaning that in warmer areas even Abercrombie Zombies are going to start getting fat in the first few days. After a few weeks of this, the nasty, bloated zombie army is going to start doing something that is simultaneously the most awesome and disturbing thing a zombie can do: they will start exploding (CAUTION! Pictures!). The warm, moist conditions in the tropical and subtropical parts of the world (or even just summer in the temperate parts) speeds this condition, meaning a July zombie outbreak pretty much anywhere would be over in a few weeks just by virtue of the rampaging monsters bursting like rancid meat balloons.

Ew!!

Of course, in a world in which the dead rise and act  like Democrats, who says they have to obey the laws of physics and biology?

Better hang on to at least the shotgun…

h/t The Jawa Report

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Oh, dear. Maybe these people should eat out next year:

For seven more “how not to deep-fry a turkey” videos, visit Eat Me Daily.

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We supposedly had a drill to prepare for a massive earthquake today where I work, a major West Coast university. It caused quite the flutter among staff as we went back and forth over what signage to have, whether we should get under our desks to practice “duck and cover” for this pretend temblor, whether we would make visitors to our facility do the same, and whether we would participate in the “evacuation.”

Yep, that last part would entail having us leave our offices to line up and march to a designated gathering place, just like it was the end of recess in grammar school.

This had to be one of the dumbest exercises I’ve ever seen, probably proposed by some resume-building hack as a “consciousness raising” measure. In the end, it was useless.

Look, I support disaster preparedness, but real preparedness, not this Doctor Feelgood nonsense. Anyone who’s lived in an active earthquake zone knows to duck under some hard cover and stay away from windows during a quake. These Romper-Room games do nothing.

If they want real preparedness, then get staff certified in first aid, emergency response, and evacuation procedures — and pay them commensurately. Pay for storage lockers and supply them with enough food, water, and other emergency supplies to last the standard three days in which we might be without outside help.

Do that, and then I’ll think you’re serious about getting ready for the Big One.

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