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Almost all Californians know the feeling. The windows rattle. The floor shakes. It’s an earthquake. And most of us quickly think about what to do. Get to a safe place. Sniff for gas. Turn on a radio. However, when the ground starts to shake, the likelihood that you and your family survive without damage is directly linked to the steps you take before the ground shakes.
There have been several press reports that "the big one" is coming sooner rather than later. It could happen at any time. The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) says that damaging earthquakes are inevitable in California, but taking actions based on the likelihood of future quakes will help save lives and protect property. This earthquake preparedness feature gives you information you can use to get ready. I hope that you will check out the tips offered and consider implementing them in your home and office.
You can request an Earthquake Quote by following this link Homeowners Quote or call us.
General Earthquake Information
An earthquake is a sudden shaking of the Earth that is caused by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the Earth's surface. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency among the damages that earthquakes can cause are
- the collapse of buildings and bridges,
- the disruption of gas, electric, and phone service,
- and sometimes landslides, avalanches, flash floods, fires, and huge, destructive ocean waves.
Buildings, trailers and manufactured homes that are not tied to a reinforced foundation are at special risk because they can be shaken off their mountings during an earthquake.
The State of California is the highest earthquake risk state in America (source: EQE International, Inc.). Since the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, California has not had a major quake with a magnitude greater than 8.0. However, earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 6.5 have been occurring in California on the average of every four years. These earthquakes are due to several large, active faults, such as the San Andreas, Hayward, and Newport-Inglewood faults.
Although we are unable to predict when the next earthquake will occur, we can take the proper precautions to lesson the damage they may leave behind. Preparedness is key.
Earthquake Preparedness Checklist
From the Federal Emergency Management Agency
Check for hazards in the home.
- Fasten shelves securely to walls.
- Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
- Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
- Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sit, and make sure they are securely attached to the wall.
- Brace overhead light fixtures.
- Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks.
- Secure a water heater by strapping it to the wall studs and bolting it to the floor.
- Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations.
- Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
- Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.
Identify safe places in each room.
- Under sturdy furniture such as a heavy desk or table.
- Against an inside wall. Away from where glass could shatter around windows, mirrors, pictures, or where heavy bookcases or other heavy furniture could fall over.
Locate safe places outdoors.
- In the open, away from buildings, trees, telephone and electrical lines, overpasses, or elevated expressways.
Make sure all family members know how to respond after an earthquake.
- Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water.
- Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police, or the fire department and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.
Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on earthquakes.
- American Red Cross Northern California Region
- American Red Cross Southern California Region
Have disaster supplies on hand.
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Portable battery-operated radio and extra batteries
- First aid kit and manual
- Emergency food and water
- Non-electric can opener
- Essential medicines
- Cash and credit cards sturdy shoes
- A few gallons of drinking water
- Click here for more information from the Felton Volunteer Fire Department of Santa Cruz County
Develop an emergency communication plan.
- In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster.
Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it may be easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
Get the latest information on recent earthquakes in California and Nevada. This site lets you click on a particular area and get a listing of all the recent earthquakes including time, location and magnitude.
Recent Earthquakes in California - Nevada - https://scedc.caltech.edu/recent/index.html
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