A tiddler

There was an earthquake in Adelaide last night – about 3.8 on the Richter scale. Everyone seems to be terribly excited about it, but really, it was just a tiddler. There was no jolt, no lurch, no long running rumbles or waves running through the ground. It was a mere shudder. On the other hand, houses here are not built for earthquakes, so I would be frightened by a bigger quake, like the 5.2 quake centred near Wellington in August last year.

I don’t like earthquakes – who does? – but I feel confident about what to do if a strong one hits. It’s knowledge that was drilled into us at school. And when we lived in Wellington, we were prepared for earthquakes, with a three day emergency food and water supply, and a plan about who would collect the children and where we would meet. However routine Australian hazards frighten me. I like to think that I would be sensible should I come across a snake, but I really have no idea what to do about them, and I don’t know what to do about bushfires. Yet another cultural gap across the Tasman.


5 responses to “A tiddler

  1. Living in Australia, sadly, has not conferred some magical snake-awareness on me. Alex and I were hiking up at Belair a while ago and saw a snake. I didn’t freak out, just grabbed Alex’s shoulders and frog-marched her forwards while repeating the terrified mantra; “Keep moving, keep moving, keep moving..

    Pretty sure that’s not the appropriate response.

    As to the earthquake, we were in bed at the time, she woke up and asked me what it was, and I said it was probably a big truck going past. Yeah, how terrifying it was.

  2. Aussies are really weird about earthquakes! 🙂

  3. Of course we’re funny about earthquakes, we’re quite sure that the earth is supposed to stay where we leave it. Our volcanoes are extinct and our houses do not shake! Except of course when they do a little (or a fair bit, as in Newcastle).

    There is bushfire advice on the South Australian Country Fire Service website (and those of the other rural fire services around the country). Even though you live in the city, you need to know what to do and how it works if you happen to be on holidays over summer so you can make decisions. The most important thing to know is that you’re unlikely to get someone official telling you what to do, so you need to be prepared to look after yourselves.

    Daniel’s response to the snake sounds fine to me. Leave them alone as much as possible.

  4. If you are further than one metre away from the snake back away slowly and don’t make sudden movements. I’m not sure what you are supposed to do if you are closer than 1m. I think you are supposed to stand still, but I reckon that would be pretty difficult. The idea is not to startle the snake into striking. Mostly they prefer to leave rather than attack. Mostly.

  5. According to my Aussie friend you are supposed to stop and let the snake go on its way. Which is the piece of advice I’m least likely to follow.