Monday, November 14, 2011
An Inspirational Visit with Michael Lienau
After a life-altering experience, Michael Lienau is a firm believer in emergency preparedness. I recently attended a presentation of Michael Lienau’s in which he spoke of personal and business emergency preparedness.
Lienau was a close observer of Mount St. Helens during its second eruption on May 25, 1980. Too close. At age twenty and a life-long film buff, he’d planned to go to film school in Northern California. His plans were waylaid when Mount St. Helens erupted May 18, 1980. He made his way to the Mount St. Helens area to film the rivers that swelled with volcanic sediment. He joined a Seattle production company and flew through black clouds of ash, filming the blast from above.
When the second, smaller blast of May 25 occurred, Lienau and the production company were at the base of the mountain. The sky rained ash for seven hours, trapping the party in the backcountry for four days. They were unprepared for such an emergency and fought fatigue, hunger and turmoil.
It was a life-changing event, both professionally and spiritually. There was a strong possibility they might lose their lives. “It was one of those things that shaped my life,” he says. He began freelancing film work, inspired by his experience and the people whose lives were affected by the blast.
Lienau filmed “The Fire Below Us: Remembering Mount St. Helens,” which was first aired in 1994 on National Geographic television. He later made “Fire Mountains of the West” and “Cascadia: The Hidden Fire,” two films examining the present geologic and volcanic dangers of the Pacific Northwest.
Today, still an active cinematographer, Lienau encourages people to be prepared for disaster. “Preparedness is easy, inexpensive and you’ll never regret it.” Lienau’s particular concern is the strong possibility of a disastrous earthquake in the Northwest. The Cascadia Subduction Zone is one of the largest geologic faults in the nation, capable of generating a truly catastrophic 9+ earthquake.
By following FEMA’s recommendation--Make a plan, Make a kit, and Be informed--we can ensure preparedness. FEMA suggests a minimum 3-day Disaster Supply Kit that includes:
– One gallon of water per person per day, plus regular chlorine bleach for purifying more water
– Non-perishable food for each person per day
– Medications / first aid supplies
– Flashlight / extra batteries / light sticks
– Toiletries (including toilet paper, feminine supplies, soap, personal hygiene supplies)
– Important documents (wills, insurance papers, etc)
– Money, including small bills and change
– Multi-Purpose tools, garbage & zip lock bags
– Radio (battery or wind-up) / extra batteries
– Special needs for elderly, baby, pets
– Extra clothes / shoes / blankets
Lienau emphasizes the need to have food and supplies on hand. “If we give some time to preparedness in our families, neighborhoods and communities, it alleviates fear and strengthens our response systems.”