Quakeable came out of a school project in which we were asked to create a solution based on the topic of something unseen, unheard and unknown. I chose to research earthquakes, an unseen event with unknown effects, and a phenomenon I am underprepared for. Scientists believe a major earthquake could hit the Lower Mainland at any time. The area, which includes Metro Vancouver, has 60% of British Columbia's population. I asked: how can we help people better prepare for earthquakes?
To better understand my audience, I conducted an online survey of 54 people in the Lower Mainland. I found that only 24% had an emergency plan in place, and only 36% of them had an emergency kit ready and available. For the purpose of this project, let's assume the results are an accurate representation of how prepared Vancouver is in general. That would mean the Lower Mainland Emergency Services would expect ~65% of the population to be underprepared, putting extreme stress on existing emergency systems.
In interviews with local organizations such as North Shore Emergency Management
and Neighbourhood Labs
, I discovered that people in the Lower Mainland were not taking advantage of existing earthquake preparation resources available to them. I found there were a lot of educational events and online information; these resources were hard to access and visually unappealing. Most unprepared survey respondents and interviewees said too little time and too much information kept them from preparing. Psychology research suggests that under preparing is a common behaviour as humans often miscalculate risk and think disasters won't happen to them, even if they occur.
Based on my research, I focused on finding a solution to remove barriers to creating an emergency plan.