On Nov 11, 2017, a major earthquake struck Ross Ct in Palo Alto CA.

21 residents, 3 dogs, and 4 cats smelled gas leaks, watched a transformer fizzle and spark, and were without water and power for several days. Afterward, they were joined by 2 of their neighbors and 6 volunteers for lunch.

This was, of course, not an actual earthquake, but our second pilot event. We are happy to report that it was, if anything, even more successful than our first.

Here’s the full report.

Here’s the summary:

  1. Kudos to Carrie, the local organizer! A stunning 75% of the households that were invited participated:

    (And, sadly, thanks to the many recent disasters around the country.)
  2. Except for one participant who had to leave because of childcare commitments, everyone stayed active throughout the event.
  3. Participants were very enthusiastic about what they learned about preparedness in general, their own state of preparedness, and (re-)connecting with their neighbors.
  4. We saw many instances of neighbors talking to each other. We even delayed beginning the debrief session because one group of six neighbors were having an animated and productive discussion about who had what resources.
  5. The game controllers were fully engaged, and all reported having had fun. We should have them running events on their own soon!

On the less successful side,

  1. Communications with participants during the game did not work well. As in, at all. This was a combination of some participants’ lack of familiarity with group texting, vagaries of text message delivery, and tribulations of typing on tiny telephone keyboards.
  2. There’s good confusion and there’s bad confusion. We still need to eliminate the latter from game materials and instructions.

Of course, there’s room for improvement in other areas, but we are ready to work on routinizing event organization, and developing game controller orientation and training.

The good news is that we are in conversations with different people about four possible events in the spring. We hope to turn them into two separate event series.

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