"No Quake Insurance for You"

Reno, Nevada has been shaking a lot lately, but one resident's agent told him, "I couldn't write you a quake policy now if you were the Queen of Outer Space." The former columnist for his local paper discusses what he'll do if a big one hits.

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

This is Day to Day. I'm Madeleine Brand.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

I'm Alex Chadwick. When Corey Farley called his insurance agent the other day and asked about getting an earthquake policy for his home the agent just laughed and said I couldn't write you a quake policy now if you were the Queen of Outer Space.

BRAND: Corey lives near Reno, Nevada, and for the past two months the area and its residents have been shaken by a series - well, a swarm, really, of quakes. Now, here is what is crazy. People are worried. Instead of a bigger quake followed by smaller aftershocks, the quakes are getting stronger.

CHADWICK: Corey Farly joins us now. He's a former long-time columnist for the Reno Gazette-Journal, and he hosts a local radio show there now. Corey, welcome to Day to Day.

Mr. COREY FARLEY (Radio Host, KBZZ Reno, Nevada): Oh, it's a pleasure to be here, Alex.

CHADWICK: So, how did you sleep last night?

Mr. FARLEY: Well, between about the 10:57 to 10:58 p.m. earthquake, and the six o'clock this morning when the 60 mile per hour winds began, I got a nice nap.

CHADWICK: How big was the quake last night?

Mr. FARLEY: I haven't checked. It was fairly small. It shook our house, our old two-story house is a little flexible anyway, but it shook the house a little bit. And then we dozed off, and then we woke up, and the wind was shaking the house to about the same degree.

CHADWICK: So, there was a pretty big earthquake on Friday. Things fell off the shelves, and somewhat smaller one earlier yesterday, but two months of this is going on. How are people doing there?

Mr. FARLEY: Well, a lot of people thought they were get - we have a number of people who moved here from California in the last five or 10 years, and they thought they were getting out of the earthquake zone. And I understand real estate people are not always reliable in explaining all the hazards of when you buy a house up here, but people are starting to get worn a little thin. Normally you have one earthquake and then a series of decreasing aftershocks, and these have gotten steadily stronger from the 20th of February.

CHADWICK: Yeah.

Mr. FARLEY: It's grinding people down.

CHADWICK: Doesn't that kind of suggest something to everyone there?

Mr. FARLEY: We hope not. The seismologists will not commit because it's a difficult thing to predict, but they are saying that they can't rule out a larger quake.

CHADWICK: Reno, you know, this is kind of a gambling town, isn't it?

Mr. FARLEY: It is, and it's also a very seismically active town. But we haven't - I've got a water heater strap that's been sitting in my closet for five years, and it's still sitting on the floor of my closet - haven't strapped on the water heater yet.

CHADWICK: You're supposed to use that to strap the thing down so it doesn't fall over!

Mr. FARLEY: I used to write stories urging people to do that!

CHADWICK: Corey Farley, a former newspaper columnist now the host of a program on KBZZ, 1270 AM in Reno, Nevada. Corey, may the ground under your feet be still.

Mr. FARLEY: We all hope so, Alex. Thank you.

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