Watching footage of some office buildings in an earthquake, I was surprised by the amount by which even full filing cabinets were rocked about.
There is always the danger of a ceiling collapse under such circumstances and I was reminded of the use of Morrison Shelters in the UK during the Blitz. These were basically reinforced tables with mesh sides, designed to protect people from falling brickwork.
Today’s invention is to recreate such shelters for office workers in earthquake zones. A quick survey shows that even these days there is an average of about one filing cabinet per occupant.
In the event of a big quake, when stairwells are often crowded or otherwise obstructed, it might be safer to pull the drawers from one such cabinet, topple it over and hide inside the shell until the threat of falling masonry was over.
Existing cabinets could be retro-fitted internally with a layer of stiff foam for added protection and possible also a cheap mobile phone, fixed inside, to enable those sheltering to call for help.