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Earthquake HangTags

Go for the green
  (+17)(+17)
(+17)
  [vote for,
against]

What do you do in an earthquake? You get under something sturdy.

But when the instant comes, do you want to be looking around, evaluating desks and chairs and doorways and shelves and whatnot for sturdiness? No. That should all be pre-decided - you should be sprinting.

So the idea here is those in charge of a building's safety should determine what areas are most likely to be safe in case of an earthquake, and then mark each with an Earthquake HangTag. These tags are affixed to the ceiling of each safe zone (the underside of a desk, a reinforced ceiling, or whatever). They are unobtrusive, and lay flat against their surface until activated.

When they are signalled, they drop from their normal position and dangle in easy view. (Much like the oxygen masks in an airliner.) The signal can be provided by a pendulum-based earthquake sensor, or simply by loss of power (they should be set up on a dedicated UPS circuit). Each tag contains a green LED, powered by a small zinc-air battery. The tag drop unseals the battery, powering the LED.

Persons in the area will see these tags drop; even if the power goes out they are still visible. Just head for one. No un-panicked thought required.

The tags should consist of plastic pouches, and each pouch should contain a number of facemasks, since dust inhalation is one of the most common immediate hazards post-quake.

lurch, Aug 29 2009

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       // neon orange, //   

       No, green. Orange designates "hazard", green is for evacuation/first aid etc.   

       [+] for the idea.
8th of 7, Aug 29 2009
  

       may as well put all the controls for emergency lighting, phone, first aid, etc. there too [+]
FlyingToaster, Aug 29 2009
  

       I like the idea of identifying earthquake-safer zones, but I think an active mechanism is too fussy. Just have a sticker to indicate the spot (or point to it). As long as the sticker is conspicuous, people working in a place will be familiar with where they have to go. (Most fire-exit signs are just stickers.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 29 2009
  

       Since LEDs are hard to see during the day, how about a tiny alarm on each tag that beeps to alert earthquake victims of the tag's location sonically? To avoid confusion, tags could beep in different, predetermined patterns or sequences.
DrWorm, Aug 29 2009
  

       Well, [UB], seeing as the beeping would only be necessary during the first few minutes of the earthquake , maybe it could stop after then?   

       And by the way, [+] because I forgot to earlier.
DrWorm, Aug 29 2009
  

       Have them red on a green background. If you're going to have a natural disaster, you may as well use it to weed out some dud genes.   

       Actually, you could have the instructions printed in the form of cryptic crossword clues and/or equations, in red on green. After a few dozen earthquakes, the earthquake-ridden country would have evolved a significant intellectual and optical advantage.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 30 2009
  

       What?
Nothing to weed out the short, bald and lazy?
  

       Green. I like green. Except I think I'm going to change to a white LED, and just put it inside of a green plastic pouch. It can sit in there with the white face-masks, and help make the green more visible. But then after the quake is over, and you're huddled in your little airspace with three other co-workers, you can take the masks out of the green pouch, and take the light out of the green pouch, and you don't have to be lit like a horror movie for the next 48 hours while you're waiting for someone to rescue you.   

       I should probably add a little plastic whistle, like those cheap ones from the CrackerJack boxes, except with one of the whistle-tubes very small to be ultrasonic to help the rescue dogs find you, and I don't care if that part is green or not.
lurch, Aug 31 2009
  
      
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