Most people in western society drive. Drivers are taught and required to be hazard aware. They are required to pay attention and can be severely penalized for failing to do so. Most people, drivers or otherwise, work for a living, and the terms of their employment require them to be hazard aware. Failure to work within health and safety regulations can result in dismissal. Driving and working generally don’t account for more than 40% of a person’s life. So, what else do we do? Some of us get closer to nature. Most people – drivers, workers or others – spend some time in outdoor recreation, whether on the beach, at the pool, on the bike, or somewhere else. In outdoor activities it is pretty unwise, and possibly even catastrophic, not to pay at least some attention to potential hazards. Beaches can kill not just by drowning but by heat-stroke or due to recklessness of another beach-goer. Recklessness that causes a hazard to others is seriously frowned on and may be illegal. We plan for hazards almost automatically as we pack our picnic and throw in the antihistamines and first-aid kit.
So, what do we do when we are not working, driving or spending time outdoors? We sit on the couch and watch television, play on mobile phones, drink cups of tea and the occasional beer, and sleep. No hazards here we think. But are we right? In the other settings where we live out parts of our life we are warned about the hazards repeatedly. The road toll, the drowning toll, work accident data on big display boards. Occasionally we hear of accidents in the home, but to most people, our homes are our castles, and sometimes the rates might feel that way too. Just remember, you spend up to 50% of your life in your home, so the chances are reasonable that your castle is where you will be during the next earthquake. In order to plan for seismic hazard, and understand what to have in your seismic-aid kit, you need to have some idea of what you are dealing with.