Thursday, September 23, 2010

1-12-3 Accidents 3 Natural Accidents, Includes Nuclear Meltdown

Physician's Notebooks 1 - - See Homepage
1-12-3  Accidents 3  Update 30 Jan. 2019 Accidents
Contents of Chapter in order of reading. - Use Search & Find

Earthquake, Tsunami, Nuclear Meltdown, Natural Catastrophe, Water Supply Contamination, Lightning Accident, Roller, Coaster Rider & Other Acceleration Brain Hemorrhage and Aerobics Spinal Cord Hemorrhage

Earthquake (EQ) seems relevant only to those living in risk area but, as a resident of Tokyo, I experienced the 11 March 2011 EQ and aftermaths (Its strength 7 Richter in Tokyo) and I studied the 1996 Kobe EQ.
   For anyone who lives in EQ risk:
   First preventive to think about: Are you living on land with a history of frequent, predictable major EQ like California coastal or Turkey near Istanbul or in Japan? Or also living in an area that by history and geology is targeted for a major EQ/Tsunami disaster soon like Pacific Northwest America? If you are, consider moving to a safer spot. If you cannot, then live in the safest place to be in an EQ: away from seacoast flats (and see the videos of the 11 March Tsunami sweeping 10 kilometers inland); in an EQ-proof, inspected building.
   An EQ may strike while people sleep, so be sure to have a pillow to put over one's head And do not sleep near a window and side of a building. And, above all, be sure nothing can fall on top of you. (Even pieces of your room's overhead fastened into place, like an air conditioner or heavy closet door, which may come loose in strong EQ and fall, crushing your head or feet)
Wear around the neck a toot-whistle; it will help locate you if you get buried in rubble after EQ. (In the March 2011 Tokyo EQ many cell phones were useless due to excess calls)
   Keep 5 days of drinking water - 1 liter or quart per person per day - and activated charcoal powder or rock to purify radioactive water later - and canned or easily stored food that does not require a refrigerator or cooking to eat. In Tokyo, the food stores just after the EQ had long waits lines and shelves empty. Have batteries, portable radio, matches, flashlight, and fueled lighter. (Or quickly buy what you lack) And beforehand find out what your city planning says you should do in case of severe EQ and also work out a local plan with neighbors.
   The Richter EQ measurement is what we are all familiar with. it is important to be aware that each digit of Richter is on a logarithmic scale; so that means that from Richter 6 to 7 is ten-time increase and Richter 8 is a 100-time stronger than Richter 6. Most catastrophic earthquakes are Richter 7 or above.
   What if EQ Strikes? At home, a timing of the EQ from its shaking, start to stop (If you do not have a timepiece with seconds hand just count the seconds in your mind as "1 little second, 2 ..."). Then rate it according to the following duration: 15 seconds - Richter 7, 30 seconds - mid 7's, 1 minute - high 7's, 2 minutes - low 8's, 3 minutes high 8"s, 4 minutes - 9. Also consider it serious if a hanging fixture or decoration swings, if anything is dislodged out of place. If the EQ seems strong and lasts more than 15 seconds, 1) quickly open door to your home to prevent the door's getting stuck closed and trapping you; 2) then run and turn off the main switch of gas and electricity; 3) then start a drinking-water collection by opening the tap in your plugged-drain bathtub or kitchen sink, whichever closest; and, 4) then take up protected position under desk away from window, with portable radio for news. As high priority, be alert to fire and put it out at once. From the March 2011 Tokyo EQ, aftershocks occurred from 30 minutes to 2 days after the main EQ so do not immediately relax and think It's over.
   Outside: In Tokyo in March 2011 on the first day all trains and buses were stopped for hours to a day and taxis very hard to get and stuck in traffic. Even 4 days later there was no petrol at the pumps so do not depend on cars driving for evacuation. If on foot outside, move away from falling-from-above things and lie on the ground till the EQ stops. If you are driving a car, drive off a bridge, overpass or elevated highway and, as soon as you are off the dangerous elevated area or out of a dangerous tsunami-prone lowland area, park on the side of the road away from cliffs or any overhead object, and sit in your car listening to radio news.
   From Kobe 1996 and Northeast Japan March 2011: Death and injury could have been prevented had resident inspected his home for falling-on-head furnishing like TV set above sleeping head (common in Japan where people sleep on the floor) and positioned it more safely. Fires caused most deaths in Kobe; 95% would have been prevented if homeowners had simple firefighting material, like buckets of water, laid away, and if, at the start, had directed attention to putting out home and building fire while still small and controllable. Relating to that was the danger of keeping easily toppled or broken container of flammable liquid fuel at home.
Click on the following for a very updated view of the EQ risk and it might mean to you and yours: 

The Earthquake That Will Devastate Seattle - The New Yorker

Nuclear Meltdown was a particular aspect of the NE Japan EQ of March 2011. Tokyo 250 Km away experienced risk-raising rises of radiation even 5 months after. So it is useful to get a practical handle on the measure of radiation risk, which is radioactivity reported in counts per minute (CPM). The CPM needs to be converted into a measure you can relate to radiation risk and that measure is the microSievert. A Geiger counter clicking at 100 cpm is estimated to measure human exposure to 1 microSieve­rt of potentially harmful radioactivity per hour. Normally all over Earth, the background radioactivity from natural sources will give a Geiger-counter measure of 10 to 15 cpm depending on various factors related to the location.
On 20 March 2011 in Tokyo, Geiger counters recorded 12 to 20 cpm from various locations. Using the above 100 cpm = 1 microSievert, a Geiger counter showing 20 cpm is showing radioactivity of 1/5th microsievert per hour.
   Exposure to 12,500 microsievert increases cancer risk in a 1000-person population at risk by one case compared to no exposure. Therefore a Geiger counter showing 20 cpm such as we saw in Tokyo a week after the partial meltdown, would require 7 years continuous exposure to cause one extra case of cancer per thousand at risk. At 5X that rate, or a Geiger counter showing 100 cpm, it would take 1.5 years to cause the extra case of cancer.
   From this estimation comes the rule that a count below 50 cpm is a low worry and a count between 50 and 100 cpm is a reason for evacuation of pregnant women and persons under age 30. Over 100 cpm is a reason to evacuate quickly before the panic hits.
   As soon as a major nuclear accident has become apparent, if you have children or pregnant persons at home, consider evacuation plan (Use internet Geiger counter cpm as a panic button control) because, within days, evacuation will be very difficult due to clogged transport from road to the airport. Those who stay behind, in the large cities especially, should not panic. If you followed my instructions, you'll already have 5 days food and water. (It is useful ahead of time also to have a supply of activated charcoal powder, to further purify water of its radioactivity)
   Listen to the radio. But do not necessarily believe reassurances. (Government reassurances in March 2011 turned out mostly wrong) Finally, do not become paranoid about radioactive contamination. If you are 250 km or more away from a nuclear meltdown, the levels of increased radiation in air, food, and water will not make you sick in even the medium term (weeks to a year). The risk is for long term radiation effect - leukemia, thyroid cancer and lesser risk for other cancers after 20 years. 

Natural Catastrophe, Long Term Planning: Earthquake, cliff and mudslide, a downstream deluge from a broken dam, riverside overflow, volcano eruption, tornado, nuclear plant meltdown or accident, and global warming ought to be on the mind of anyone planning home-building or living-place change. An important point ought to be putting one’s home or living place out of harm’s way. Check on Internet the major EQ-faults, find out the tornado-dense area of U.S. (middle-America around Mississippi River), and as 21st century moves on, prefer high latitude north or south to low latitudes. If living or planning to live by the seashore, coastal flats or on a small island, consider the rising sea level. And stay at least 250 km from nuclear plants. Obviously, many cannot change where they live; just as many can. Doing it well makes for a built-in happy life. One of the safest, healthiest urban areas in the 21st century is going to be Winnipeg Canada and its surroundings. Another is the Russian Far East around Khabarovsk. And Australia, New Zealand, Chile & Argentina (the Latin countries have a problem of political instability).
A natural catastrophe that is slow burning is contamination of the water supply (cf. the 2015 Flint Michigan water supply contamination with toxic lead Pb levels and other contaminants due to switching the city's supply to the Flint River for economic advantage) which also emphasizes the importance of personal & family water supply by filtered purified systems.

Lightning Accident: The most intense concentration of cloud-to-ground killing lightning occurs in central Florida USA, rate 13 times more than the USA Pacific northwest rate, which has damp air but lower temperature and sees almost no lightning. Mountain valleys also have high risk; Mt. Blanc in the French Alps is the highest risk. Don’t stand under a tree in a rainstorm; when golfing, immediately head off the green. Caught in open, curl up on the ground on a side with legs together. A swimmer is a sitting (swimming) duck for a lightning hit, usually death-dealing. Airplane with a non-metal surface (small private type) is at risk for lightning fatality.
Roller Coaster Rider and Other Acceleration Brain Hemorrhage and Aerobics Spinal Cord Hemorrhage: A 44-year-old man rode one of the world's fastest roller coasters and, shortly after, started complaining of headaches. After 3 months he got CT scan of the skull that revealed previous bleeding, the result of sudden high acceleration torsion on arteries feeding the brain from the inner skull. The neurosurgeon made bilateral burr holes in the skull and took out a liter of old blood fluid that had been deforming the brain, and, following that, the chronic headaches stopped. Inside the skull, bleeding occurs in persons over 65 usually due to direct accident head-bang trauma. This case could have only been caused by the roller coaster ride. Acceleration injuries might also occur after high dives or in aircraft that are engaged in avoidance maneuvers. Particularly at risk are those taking daily aspirin, coumadin or other anticoagulants to prevent blood clot illnesses.
   Aerobics led to a spinal cord hemorrhage that caused a paraparesis (a right & left lower extremities loss of power and feeling) with loss of bladder control in a 20-year-old woman. The symptoms started immediately after an aerobics session. An MRI showed the woman had an arteriovenous malformation of the spinal cord which set her up for a hemorrhage caused by the torsion of the aerobics back-bending exercise. From this case, we advise MRI of the spine before starting an aerobics program. It could have picked up the AVM before the hemorrhage occurred and allowed it to be treated to prevent the future risks of hemorrhage and paraparesis. A negative MRI could reassure a person starting aerobics that no such risk exists. Anyone taking anticoagulant like Coumadin (Warfarin) should avoid the above activities.
   Flash! The exercise-treadmill injury of Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg's 47-year old husband, Dave Goldberg, points the importance of not doing that kind of exercise alone. He apparently fell off the exercise treadmill, struck his head, and over the next several hours bled to near death (and died in emergency shortly after) because nobody else was in the room to rescue him.  

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