The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What if it happened today?

My task recently was to compare and contrast the differences between Mt. St. Helens erupting in 1980 and if it were to erupt at the same magnitude today. For the sake of a more exact comparison, we assumed the same day of the week and time (Sunday morning, 8:30 am). The day of the week and the time of day made a huge impact in the effects of the eruption. Mid-day on Monday would have been even more devastating. So, in a few installments (I know your attention span) here is my conclusion:

It is hard for us to remember, or for the younger generation, imagine a world without cell phones. There was a time when the person you wanted to contact wasn't just a phone call away, any time of the day or night. It is difficult to think back to when information wasn't instantaneous, even the most banal or inane question able to be answered in an instant from Google or Wikipedia. In 1980, Google wasn't the verb that it is today, in fact, it was only a word in the sense of an Old English cricket term.

But such was the case in May of 1980 when Mt. St. Helens unleashed a fury on the Pacific Northwest that could only be matched by a nuclear explosion. I have been tasked with creating a presentation discussing how things would be different if Mt. St. Helens erupted today, at least from an emergency management perspective.

More tomorrow!

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