Lessons Learned: February 6th Earthquake in Hualien Taiwan

Lessons Learned: February 6th Earthquake in Hualien Taiwan

Damage caused by the February 6th EarthquakeFebruary 6th Earthquake

At 2350 on February 6th, 2018 Hualien suffered a 6.4 earthquake. This is the strongest earthquake I have experienced and led to hundreds of injuries, a currently unknown number of deaths and multiple building collapses. This is why I advocate that everyone have first aid skills and supplies.  Fortunately, my building did not collapse and I did not have any major injuries. However, I do some thoughts on things I did wrong.  You can see the damage done to my room below.

My everyday backpackThe Good

Right after the shaking stopped I grabbed my everyday backpack and the flashlight I have. In the backpack is a medical kit, some glowsticks, a lighter and a penknife. I also thought to stuff spare medical supplies in my bag and into my jacket pocket. Turns out a triangle bandage and an Israeli bandage fit well in the pocket.  The only injuries I treated were some lacerations.

The medical supplies in my apartmentThe Bad

My medical supplies sat on a shelf of a bookcase. That bookcase fell during the earthquake and my supplies were everywhere. I was not able to quickly find all of my extra supplies and I left half my Israeli bandages behind. I was not able to find my alcohol prep pads and had to use iodine on the lacerations. When I did use first aid supplies they were in chaos. Throwing anything I could grab in to the bag led to me using the first things I could find. If I had needed the tourniquet I would have had to dump my bag out to get to my normal first aid kit.

The other issues were non-medical supplies. First I was fortunate to think enough to grab the flashlight in my room. If I had failed to, glowsticks would have been my only light. Second I had neither extra contacts or glasses. Third I had no way of charging my phone if it had run out of batteries.

A Solution Emergency / Go Bag.

My first solution is something like an Emergency / Go bag. Using something like a sports bag I could use it store all my extra medical supplies so they are all in one place instead of rocketed around the room in an emergency bag. Also what should go in the  Emergency Bag; extra contacts or glasses, a flashlight, a cell phone charger, extra medicine, emergency blankets and anything else I think of latter. Unlike my everyday backpack weight and space would be a lot less of a concern.

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