Personal Preparedness

Red Cross Webinar now online.

The repeat webinar we did for Red Cross Chapters is now available online. Watch on our website or watch it on YouTube.  This showcases the capabilities of Depiction More than Mapping software.

Are you ready for a 9.0 earthquake?

Check out this article about how “Patrick Corcoran’s  job every day is to go out into the world to tell people to prepare to meet their doom. Or, rather, to prepare to escape it.

Doomsday Preppers Bug Out Routing

Not sure how many of you have watched Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic Channel, but one of the main topics of concerns for all preppers is bug-out routes.

Both Depiction and DepictionPrep offer a great way to plan for these bug-out routes.  The great advantage both software packages have over other mapping software is the ability to show multiple bug out routes on the same maps. Also both products will automatically determine the best route from point A to point B.  In addition you could do what-if scenarios and explore alternate routing if key bridges were out. Not only can you show vehicle routing but you could also show walking routes on the same maps. Depiction and DepictionPrep are the ideal bug-out planning tools for all Doomsday preppers.

La Quinta Emergency Preparedness Kits

The City of La Quinta CA is a long time Depiction/DepictionPrep user and has a very active Neighborhood preparedness program. Paul Hess the emergency services coordinator for the city recently sent me info on some new kits they have available.

The City of La Quinta has now announced the release of the New La Quinta PREP Emergency Preparedness Kits:

The City of La Quinta is making it easier than ever to get prepared for an earthquake or other community emergency! Now, the new

La Quinta PREP Emergency Preparedness Kits are available to the public from our City web site:

We have worked hard with the great staff at More Prepared to create this family, vehicle, and Workplace

Emergency Preparedness starter kit that follows our PREP Neighborhood Preparedness guidelines including:

  1. Emergency Water Supplies (To be added by the purchaser according to PREP handout instructions)
  2. Bandaging Supplies for more than a dozen people
  3. Tools including Flashlight, Lantern, & AM/FM radio, pry bar, and hand tools
  4. La Quinta PREP booklets and handouts

We are very excited to have this La Quinta PREP Emergency Preparedness Kit available to the public commercially. You can add anything else you want to customize the La Quinta PREP Kit for your family, neighborhood, HOA, vehicle or work location. We believe it is reasonably priced and is a great convenience to all of our responders, volunteers, and residents. Just add water, and you are ready for any emergency! Remember to have a starter kit at home, in your vehicles, and at your work or day location. For more information on the La Quinta PREP Program and Kit please contact Paul Hess, our Emergency Services Coordinator at 760-777-7061 or at

(Note: the City of La Quinta does not profit from the sale of these kits. They are provided as a public service to increase family and neighborhood preparedness)

February 22, 2012 Webinar

Russell Deffner(Depiction Preferred Consultant and Depiction University Instructor) will be presenting the next Depiction 101 Webinar on February 22nd and 9:00am PST/Noon EST. Below is Russell’s description of what he is going to be covering.

A Tabletop Exercise (TTX) is an excellent way to go through the motions of an event that is not part of your typical routine or just difficult or expensive to replicate.  I have personally participated in many TTX.  Some very good, some not so much; in my opinion the relative success of a TTX is how absorbed I get in the scenario.  If I can picture myself in the moment, making those decisions, then afterward I feel better prepared for the real thing.  However, in many of the TTX I’ve participated in, I find myself just reading verbatim or regurgitating the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of the organization.  This, in turn, leaves me feeling like in the heat of the moment I’ll be in pretty bad shape if I don’t have time to open up the manual, leaving me discouraged or thinking how unrealistic that exercise was.

There are lots of factors to why a TTX is successful or not, or how much the participants will take away from the exercise.  In my experience one common thing that is lacking in the not so successful exercises is a good visual component.  As humans, we can gather and process more information from a picture than the same scene described in text.  During this webinar I will demonstrate some of the things Depiction can do to add a good visual component (and more) to your next Tabletop Exercise.

DepictionPrep Tutorial Video Now Available

A new tutoral video on how to use DepictionPrep to prepare a personal preparedness plan is now available on our YouTube channel.  This video discusses the need for every family to have a personal preparedness plan and how one fictional family might prepare one. Please take a look.

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Which version of Depiction is right for you?

With the new version of Depiction coming out, DepictionPrep preparedness mapping software, you might be curious about which version of Depiction–the full version, DepictionPrep, or even the Depiction Free Reader.

This new Depiction comparison chart may help you navigate your options.

There are a few other differences that someone familiar with both products will recognize, but that’s a good summary. DepictionPrep has been scaled back and streamlined to make it a powerful tool for a couple tasks. The full version of Depiction, meanwhile, is a very powerful, flexible platform that can provide a wide range of solutions to folks who need situational awareness, asset management, event planning, table-top exercises or any number of other tools, particularly in (though not limited to) emergency management.

DepictionPrep is also a great place to start if you’re new to mapping and don’t find it easy to learn new software. The basic tools and tutorials will give you a great grounding that will serve you well if you decide to upgrade to the full version later.

Of course, if you want something right now, the full version is your only option–but DepictionPrep is on its way soon!

Introducing DepictionPrep!

DepictionPrepWe’re very excited to announce a new software product: DepictionPrep, our easiest to use, most streamlined and least expensive mapping program yet. DepictionPrep is preparedness mapping software, built to help individuals, families and neighborhoods build preparedness plans, and will be available in the Fall of 2011. For more information, you can watch the video below or read the news release. To sign up to be informed when you can get DepictionPrep, visit

*Video:depiction prep promo

“The Full-Rip Nine”

Thanks to Carol Dunn and King 5 News, I spent the morning reading this remarkable article by Bruce Barcott on the potential for a massive earthquake in the Cascadia subduction zone. He outlines, in dramatic fashion, potential effects from a 9.0 quake that runs up and down the coast of the Pacific Northwest. (You can learn more about these risks, in a more visual medium, from the excellent documentary Cascadia: The Hidden Fire).

Since the Depiction offices are located right in the midst of the region, this is obviously fairly important to us here, both personally and professionally. And as Carol pointed out on Twitter, “Reading is a good start, but action is the way to reduce harm.”

FEMA has some excellent advice on that score here. You should also build a disaster plan–and Depiction is a particularly good tool for doing that visually.

One of the hazards Barcott mentions is “liquefaction”:

In Seattle and Portland, the strong shaking begins to induce liquefaction, a process in which the sandy soil that portions of both cities are built on turns into a thick, slurry-like liquid. Parts of Portland rest atop sediment laid down by the Willamette River, and Seattle’s water­front sits on tidal flats overtopped by loose fill. In a quake, this unconsolidated fill loses its ability to support heavy structures.

The downtown areas aren’t the only places at risk from liquefaction, though. I put together a depiction that includes liquefaction risk for much of the Puget sound region (7.15 mb). There are many large areas, but also pockets of risk scattered all across the region. (This isn’t the only hazard you should be watching for–see Barcott’s discussion of unreinforced-masonry buildings as well–but it’s a place to start.) If you don’t have Depiction, you can explore the above file with the Depiction free reader.
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Depiction University Updated for 1.3

While we designed Depiction to be user-friendly, intuitive and easy to use, it soon became apparent that users wanted more help in learning all the tools available in the software. So we introduced Depiction University in the Fall of 2010. With the release of Depiction 1.3 in May, lots of updating was in order for the DU program, and we are happy to announce that this process is complete. The program includes eight self-paced modules, which a “student” has one year to complete. There is also a special forum on where students can share ideas, provide feedback on the software and DU program, and interact with instructors. And we have designed a special preview module so you can try it out.  Find out more today!

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