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A new early warning system helped save lives when a major earthquake struck the northern California coast on Tuesday morning, officials told the Los Angeles Times.
Two elderly people died in the violent earthquake and 12 were injured.
Just 10 seconds before the severe tremors began, around 3 million people received warnings, the Times reported.
That was just enough time for many people to get on the ground or somewhere safe — even though the earthquake broke through the walls of the house and power cut out for thousands of residents.
“The system worked as we had hoped and worked to develop,” Mark Ghilarducci from the California governor’s Office of Emergency Services told reporters, according to the Times.
The ShakeAlert mobile app — a product of the U.S. Geological Survey — sends users who may be in danger a push notification asking “Drop, Cover, Hold on.” Protect yourself,” the newspaper said.
The earthquakes in Northern California “could actually be the biggest event we’ve had [for the system] so far,” Robert Degroot from the ShakeAlert operations team told The Times.
“The system does exactly what it should be. It’s actually a really big success for us,” Degroot added.
But although warnings limited the loss of life, the earthquake still destroyed important bridges, water and power lines.
More than 13,000 residents of Humboldt County, California, remain without power Wednesday afternoon following a severe 6.4 magnitude earthquake — around 18 percent of those who lost power, according to tracking website PowerOutage.us.
And several small communities relied on portable toilets and boiled or bottled water due to damage to drinking water, The Associated Press reported.
Welcome to Equilibrium, we are Saul Elbein and Sharon Udasin.
Today we’ll see why an incoming arctic storm could also bring an increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, followed by a look at how nursing homes in California may not be prepared for wildfire emergencies. Also: Why those looking for an electric vehicle might want to buy one very soon.
The “bomb cyclone” increases the risk of death from carbon monoxide
An approaching winter storm that will hit the center of the USA could also increase the risk of deaths from carbon monoxide, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warned on Wednesday.
Killing within minutes: The so-called “bomb cyclone” is expected to cause heavy snowfall, freezing temperatures and dangerous wind chills.
- Such conditions could lead to power outages and increase the use of portable generators, according to the CPSC.
- “Portable generators carry the risk of [carbon monoxide] poisoning, which can be fatal within minutes,” CPSC said in a statement that was also circulated before a storm last week.
Why is carbon monoxide so deadly? Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is an “invisible killer” due to its colorless and odorless nature, the agency explained.
Exposed people can become unconscious before symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, and weakness occur — and sometimes even death.
Weather update: The storm that is expected to cause these dangers is the result of a powerful arctic high-pressure system that “dives southwards” toward the central plains on Wednesday, the National Weather Service (NWS) reported.
- The intense winter storm will “entail a variety of weather hazards” and trigger “life-threatening wind chills.”
- Temperatures are expected to drop by 20 or more degrees Fahrenheit within a few hours.
Happy holidays: “What better way to start the official start of the astronomical winter than with numerous winter weather hazards that affect a large part of the nation,” explained the NWS.
- In parts of the central High Plains, wind chill risks could drop to as low as -70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In the meantime, widespread sub-zero wind chills could extend south to Texas.
And the carbon monoxide compound? These hazardous conditions are likely to lead to an increase in power outages and generator usage, which the CPSC believes could lead to an increase in carbon monoxide poisoning incidents.
According to CPSC data, around 85 consumers died annually in the USA from 2011 to 2021 as a result of CO poisoning from portable generators.
What can be done? In the event of a power outage, the CPSC recommended not running a portable generator in a house, garage, basement, crawl space, or shed.
- Portable generators should only be operated outdoors, at least 20 feet away from the house, with the exhaust gas directed away from the building.
- Only portable generators should be used that have an automatic safety function that shuts off when CO levels are high.
For more tips from the CPSC on storm preparedness, click here.
You might want to buy the electric vehicle now
Americans looking to buy an electric vehicle (EV) should probably head to a dealership between January 1 and March, The Associated Press reported.
During this short window of time, electric vehicles assembled in North America that use battery minerals mined and refined outside the region could be eligible for the full $7,500 tax credit offered by the Inflation Reduction Act.
- After March, most, “if not all,” electric vehicles won’t qualify for full credit, according to AP.
- The Inflation Reduction Act extended the electric vehicle tax credit beyond its previous quota-based limits, making buyers of cars from companies like Ford, Toyota, and Tesla ineligible for loans.
But there’s a catch: The clean energy stimulus package included a controversial requirement. To be eligible for the full tax credit, the battery components of an electric vehicle must have been manufactured and assembled in the USA.
- This measure is intended to accelerate the development of a domestic battery industry, but only a few, if any, US manufacturers are currently able to comply with it.
- To give an example, General Motors expects buyers to receive just $3,750 — half of the total — as soon as the rules go into effect.
Short break: The Treasury Department announced earlier this week that it would take until March to finalize the rules governing where to get battery components from in order to receive the full federal tax credit.
For now, this should “allow some consumers to get an electric vehicle a bit cheaper than they would otherwise have done,” Chris Harto, an analyst who reports for Transportation Consumer Reports magazine, told the AP.
Beware of surcharges: While more electric vehicles may be eligible for discounts, car dealers may raise prices to cover the difference. That means customers need to be careful that they actually get an offer, Harto told the AP.
“The supply on the electric vehicle market was limited, and I don’t think that’s going to change in the next two weeks. So that’s the real risk — that this additional tax credit will be used up by merchants’ surcharges,” he added.
What “shocked” college textbook researchers
Climate change may represent a crisis — but according to a study published Wednesday, it is not presented that way in university-level biology textbooks.
- According to the article published in PLoS, the amount of real estate dedicated to climate change has steadily increased since the 1990s.
- In the same period, however, this material increasingly receded into the background of books and became increasingly detached from practical solutions, the scientists found.
“We were shocked that the passages of text addressing climate change have remained so short even in recent decades and that the number of solutions has even declined,” North Carolina State University researchers said in a statement.
“The information in these textbooks has trained generations; the minimal content on climate change reflects how little value the topic has found,” they added.
Read the rest of the story here.
Nursing homes in fire areas are ill-prepared: study
According to a
new study, nursing homes in California, which are located in areas with a higher risk of wildfires, tend to be less prepared for emergencies than facilities without such a risk.
Regrettably unprepared: Although these nursing homes are located in fire-prone regions, they have comparatively poor compliance with Medicare emergency preparedness standards, according to the study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
“Emergency preparedness in nursing homes should comply with local environmental risks to ensure residents’ safety,” the magazine said in a statement.
Exposed to fire: Researchers from Yale University examined homes that had been certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and were within 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of a wildfire risk area.
- Of the 1,182 facilities identified, the authors then found that 495 sites were considered “exposed” and 687 were considered “unexposed.”
- They defined homes with a “moderate” to “very high” forest fire risk as exposed, using the terms of the California Office of the State Fire Marshal.
How unprepared were they? The authors found that the exposed facilities had a higher percentage of at least one lack of emergency preparedness — 83.9 percent versus 76.9 percent.
- The total number of emergency preparedness deficiencies also tended to be higher in exposed facilities than in unexposed sites.
- Nursing homes in California were the most likely to not make enough use of emergency power systems and emergency power systems.
This is particularly problematic: According to the study, power outages are directly linked to negative consequences for residents of nursing homes.
Viele dieser Personen sind auf elektrische Gesundheitsgeräte angewiesen und haben Schwierigkeiten, Temperaturschwankungen zu tolerieren, betonten die Autoren.
Eine Chance zur Verbesserung: „Unsere Studie legt nahe, dass es Möglichkeiten geben könnte, die Notfallvorsorge in Pflegeheimen besser auf das lokale Waldbrandrisiko abzustimmen“, sagte Erstautorin Natalia Festa von der Yale University School of Medicine in einer Erklärung.
Um herauszufinden, wie Festa und ihre Kollegen empfehlen, diese Probleme zu lösen, klicken Sie bitte hier, um die ganze Geschichte zu lesen.
Wildtiere am Mittwoch
Tiere bereiten sich mit lebensrettenden Nickerchen auf den Wintersturm vor, erfahren über die Risiken des Online-Verkaufs von Schildkröten und wie die Bundesausgaben die Wale bedrohen.
Auch Wildtiere bereiten sich auf die extreme Kälte vor
- Angesichts eines arktischen Sturms, der am nächsten Tag die Rocky Mountains treffen wird, untersuchte die Outdoor-Nachrichtenseite OutThere Colorado, wie sich Wildtiere anpassen, um sich vor gefährlicher Kälte zu schützen. Ihre Aktionen — wie der Eintritt in einen vorübergehenden Winterschlaf — haben es ihnen ermöglicht, „Millionen von Jahren alleine im Freien zu überleben, ohne dass Menschen eingreifen“, sagte ein Parkbeamter gegenüber OutThere Colorado.
Online-Verkäufer geben nicht bekannt, dass kleine Schildkröten legal nicht als Haustiere verkauft werden können
- Kleine Schildkröten können aufgrund des Risikos, eine Salmonelleninfektion zu verbreiten, nicht legal als Haustiere verkauft werden. Laut einer neuen Studie in PLoS ONE informiert jedoch etwa die Hälfte der Online-Händler nicht über das Gesetz oder die Krankheit. Kinder sind aufgrund ihrer Neigung, Dinge in den Mund zu nehmen, besonders gefährdet, stellten die Autoren fest.
Der Gesetzgeber von Maine versucht, die Regeln zum Schutz von Walen stillschweigend aufzuheben
- Laut der Washington Post könnte eine Bestimmung im Staatshaushalt Atlantische Glattwale zugunsten der Hummerfänger in Maine opfern. „Es ist nicht übertrieben zu sagen, dass dieser Reiter den Glattwal zum Aussterben verurteilen wird“, sagte ein Vertreter von Defenders of Wildlife und bezog sich dabei auf eine Ausdrucksweise, die Hummerfänger von der Einhaltung der neuen Bundesgesetze zum Einsatz von Hummerfallen ausnimmt.
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