14 May 2011

The Search for the Safest Place in US and World

NYT via Lifehacker via Keelynet
Looking for a safe place to live? You are not alone. First, it is important to separate dangers into natural disasters and man-made disaster. Looking at natural disasters in the US, we can see the approximate risk of US cities from tornado, hurricane, and earthquake in the map above. Notice that flood risk is not specifically covered -- although it is one of the most important periodic natural disasters. Wildfire is yet another devastating periodic natural disaster that is ignored by the map. Volcanoes are an extreme hazard, but relatively rare, so are not considered in the above list. That is fortunate for most of the cities considered the "safest," since they are sitting in the middle of volcano country.

The map below merely lists standardised mortality ratios from disasters of all types in the US. The emphasis for the lower map is on weather, ignoring earthquakes, fires, and apparently floods. Here is an example of a top 10 US safest city list, which attempts to take crime AND natural risks into account.

But if you are only looking at natural disaster risk, you may be ignoring the far more important risks which come from humans. Crime and traffic accidents would rank highest, but industrial and infrastructural accidents may also be fatal -- eg exploding gas pipelines, collapsing bridges and buildings, dam failure, flying ice and blade debris from exploding wind turbines, etc. (It is not commonly known, but nuclear power plants are the safest form of power production)

If you focus on safety from crime and disorder, the safest cities in the world are to be found in Switzerland and Japan, according to Mercer Human Resource Consulting. According to Expatify's list, Switzerland sits on top, and Japan isn't even in the top 10 safest -- presumably due to Japan's proximity to age-old enemies China and Russia.

Some persons are concerned with mitigating a possible increased risk of global disaster connected with the year 2012. Another website deals specifically with an anticipated (by some) 2012 "pole shift," and the search for the safest place in the world for dealing with such a disaster.

Al Fin disaster forecasters expect the year 2012 to be no more catastrophic than Y2K was, and only slightly more disastrous than carbon climate catastrophe and peak oil doom. Standard precautions for unanticipated events -- solar flare, EMP, NBC terrorist attack, Obama government debt default etc. -- remain in effect for the foreseeable future. Other recommendations: Do not build your house on the flood plain. Do not build your house in an avalanche zone. Do not be the first one to inhabit a newly opened gentrification zone. More advice to come.
US Crime Rates


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Blogger neil craig said...

2 not easily quantifiable but still substantial risks:

Nuclear attack, either terrorist suitcase bomb or conventional, would almost certainly be on a city or military camp.

A large meteor strike would be most destructive if it produced a tsunami. It is 60 million years since the dinosaur killer which makes it a 1 in a million chance per lifetime but there have been possibly thousands of ones in that time big enough to raise tsunamis but not affect the geologic record.

So either steer clear of New York or Washington or don't let risks of under 1:10,000 rule where you spend your life.

Sunday, 15 May, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

Disease, crime, self-destructive impulses, and accidents constitute the largest risks for westerners. For third worlders, warfare, warlordism, poor sanitation, economic devastation, and malnutrition are additional risks.

Some areas are more prone to hurricanes, floods, avalanches, volcanic eruption, and so on. If a person has money, he can avoid such places. Otherwise, not.

Natural disasters, nuclear wars, asteroid strikes, EMPs, super-novas, gamma ray bursts, etc. might be considered after the more common risks are accounted for.

Monday, 23 May, 2011  

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