Shake, Rattle & Roll – Don’t Panic

Technology Predicts Earthquakes

Time to hit the floor when the room rocks, may save your life if the earth below is moving around. Now a leading contender for title of #1 Earth Quake country, Japan has found a method of giving us extra early warning the roof might cave in.

In this case, it is available in a retailer’s Appliance Department. Only as big as a best-selling paperback, the early-warning system relies on Japan’s Meteorological agency distribution network via the Internet. A signal activates the device to in turn deliver a loud countdown of up to 20 seconds preceding the beginning of a tremor.

Sunshine Security states this offers people enough time to dive beneath extinguish any fire hazards, turn off stoves, dangerous furnaces, and dive under something sturdy like a desk or solid cabinet.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency will begin the first warning broadcast on radio and television within four months. Later this year the same early warning system will begin sending to a new version of cell phones.

The company hopes to reach a minimum of 20% of Japan’s 51,000,000 households, according to SunShine’s President Kazuo Sasaki.

This effort could save a lot of lives since Japan accounts for one-fifth of the planet’s heavy shakers with magnitude registering 6 or higher. When a 1995 7.3 magnitude quake hit central Japan more than 6,400 people died. It caused an estimated $100 billion dollars damage. A 2004 6.8 magnitude quake struck the northern prefecture of Niigata and injured over 3,000, killing 40 more.

This new system detects a first underground wave, the type commonly known, that warn less by rattling less but traveling faster than following waves we know as the noisy shakers.

According the regulatory Electronic Industries Association of Japan, or JEITA, which reviews products, the data from JMA is sometimes wrong and could cause unnecessary panic.

“This system makes mistakes. It’s not 100 percent accurate,” said Yoshinori Sugihara, head of JEITA’s Emergency Earthquake Alert and Trial Project. “The appliance has warned of an earthquake when there was no earthquake.”

“But there is value in knowledge before the ground begins shaking. And those that believe this information is more valuable should buy this to save their lives,” he added.

Japan began dispensing earthquake info to a limited audiences, emergency personnel, construction sites, as well as train operators last fall. It was kept under wraps though, for fear the pre-warning effort might cause the Japanese public to fear JMA knew more about earthquake danger than it actually did. In such cases news media in America is known to issue unwarranted warnings raising citizen fear to near panic.

Claudia Strasbaugh
Claudia Strasbaugh was a freelance writer who founded Scripps Ranch/Mira Mesa Writer's Guild, was head writer for the weekly TV show "Kill 'EM With Comedy," plus California Bureau Chief for National Lotto World Magazine. Claudia also ran a nonprofit called Dinner On A Dollar. Sadly, Claudia passed away in 2015, but we are pleased to display her writing works.