Earthquake Preparedness

Earthquakes can strike at any moment. Especially in Southern California. Are you prepared?

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the striking landscapes and hospitable climate of Southern California are home to more than 20 million people and vital elements of the Nation’s economy. Unfortunately, the region is also laced with many active faults that can produce strong earthquakes. The best-known example is the San Andreas Fault, which runs almost the entire length of California including the south edge of the Mojave Desert and generates shocks as large as magnitude 8.

At the recommendation of the USGS, Automobile Club of Southern California and ReadyLA, below are some of the items you should have in your emergency kit:

  • Water: one gallon per person per day for at least three days
  • Food: at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food, plus a can opener
  • Food and water for your pets, extra leashes
  • Pocket Knife
  • Flash Light and extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • A whistle to signal for help
  • Prescription medication
  • Warm blanket, extra set of clothes
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Portable radio with extra batteries
  • Camp stove or barbecue to cook on outdoors (store fuel out of the reach of children)
  • Waterproof, heavy-duty plastic bags for waste disposal

For a complete list of what emergency supplies to have on hand visit ReadyLA and the USGS Web sites.

Facts and fictions about earthquakes:
During an earthquake you should head for the doorway? FICTION: That’s outdated advice. In past earthquakes in unreinforced masonry structures and adobe homes, the door frame may have been the only thing left standing in the aftermath of an earthquake. Hence, it was thought that safety could be found by standing in doorways. In modern homes doorways are no stronger than any other parts of the house and usually have doors that will swing and can injure you. YOU ARE SAFER PRACTICING THE “DROP, COVER, AND HOLD” maneuver under a sturdy piece of furniture like a strong desk or table. If indoors, stay there. Drop to the floor, make yourself small and get under a desk or table or stand in a corner. If outdoors, get into an open area away from trees, buildings, walls and power lines. If in a high-rise building, stay away from windows and outside walls, stay out of elevators, and get under a table. If driving, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses and power lines. Stay inside your car until the shaking is over. If in a crowded public place, do not rush for the doors.

You can’t plan ahead for an earthquake? FICTION: Make sure each member of your family knows what to do no matter where they are when earthquakes occur:

  • Establish a meeting place where you can all reunite afterward.
  • Find out about earthquake plans developed by children’s school or day care.
  • Remember transportation may be disrupted, so keep some emergency supplies–food, liquids, and comfortable shoes, for example–at work.
  • KNOW where your gas, electric and water main shutoffs are and how to turn them off if there is a leak or electrical short. Make sure older members of the family can shut off utilities.
  • LOCATE your nearest fire and police stations and emergency medical facility.
  • TALK to your neighbors–how could they help you, or you them after an earthquake?
  • TAKE Red Cross First Aid and CPR Training Course.
  • MAKE your disaster supply kit

California will eventually fall into the ocean? FICTION: It’s absolutely impossible that California will be swept out to sea. Instead, southwestern California is moving horizontally northward towards Alaska as it slides past central and eastern California.

For recent earthquake activity or should you experience an earthquake, report the earthquake to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

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