[Comment on “Meeting the challenges of natural hazards in the wake of the tsunami disaster” by Soroosh Sorooshian] More on the challenges of natural hazards



In the 11 January 2005 issue of Eos, Soroosh Sorooshian offered cogent suggestions about how we, as professional scientists, might do more to make the world safer from natural hazards. Not explicitly mentioned was an additional important contribution we can make that requires no additional research. It is simply to more effectively apply what is already known by increasing public awareness of both the hazards themselves and the simple, life-saving responses to hazards that people can take without outside warning, direction, or assistance from public officials.

For example, school children in many seismic areas are taught to duck immediately under desks or tables during earthquakes (“drop, cover, and hold on”). Similarly, people living in coastal areas along subduction zones can be taught that earthquakes may cause tsunamis and to respond to a felt earthquake by moving as quickly as possible to high ground or to inland areas and remaining there for a few hours.