Whenever we have earthquakes, we see and hear more about the possibility of a major Earthquake that might hit California, in the Near Future. A recent LA Times article indicated the that this “major” California earthquake may be a 8.2 magnitude or above. Don’t ask me how they can tell but, i’m sure they are relying on expert data and seasoned seismologists.
According to this article, California may have an 8.2 mega-earthquake in the near future. A magnitude 8.2 earthquake would rupture the San Andreas fault from the Salton Sea – close to the Mexican border – all the way to Monterey County. The fault would rupture through counties including Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino.
An 8.2 earthquake will be catastrophic because the San Andreas fault runs right through areas such as the Coachella Valley – home to Palm Springs – and the San Bernardino Valley, along with the San Gabriel Mountains north of Los Angeles. The fault is about 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles.
Some of you may remember the Northridge earthquake. From what they have reported, it seems as though this mega quake would be much worse.
Irrespective of the accuracy of the above, living in California, we’ll always need to be prepared.
Here are some tips the LA Times article listed, to be well prepared:
- Work on your home: Go to a hardware store and find the tools you need to strap bookshelves to the wall, televisions to their stands and microwaves on countertops. People have died in past earthquakes after appliances or non-secure objects have toppled over them.
- Use earthquake putty or museum wax to secure picture frames, vases to tabletops.
- Remove anything that could fall on your bed, like heavy frames or bookcases.
- Move your bed away from windows, which can shatter and cause cuts. You can also affix a safety film to windows that will leave shattered glass in place.
- Consider storing wine in racks with individual slots and a lip to hold the neck of each bottle. Keep them low to the ground. Or store wine in wooden boxes, at most two stacks high.
- Make sure your gas heater is secured to a wall.
- Install an automatic valve that shuts off the gas when shaking arrives in an earthquake, reducing the risk of a broken gas line igniting a fire.
- At the very least, learn how to shut off your gas manually. (Renters, ask your landlord where the gas is, too!) You can do it with a wrench. Better yet: Buy a tool and tie it around the gas valve, so you don’t have to go looking for a wrench just after the earthquake.
- Get a fire extinguisher or two; know where they are. Keep them visible, like on a kitchen counter away from the stove. Make sure everyone at home knows how to use them.
- Get emergency plug-in lights that automatically turn on during a power outage. Keep one near your bed.
- Try to keep your gasoline tank three-quarters full. Gas stations require power to pump gasoline. No electricity, no gas.
- Phone and Internet service could be disrupted. Texting will be an easier bet than making phone calls – and may be easier in the first few hours before cellphone towers drain their emergency battery power.
- Rely on Google maps to navigate around town? Do this right now: Download maps of your city for offline access so you can use the navigation service even when cell service is down.
- Buy portable battery packs and charge them. They’ll be essential in an extended power outage.
- See if your home or business needs a retrofit.Own a home? Hire a foundation specialist or structural engineer to see if anything needs to be done, such as bolting your home to the foundation so it doesn’t slide off in an earthquake. A $4,000 retrofit job now could head off a $400,000 repair job after the earthquake. The state-supported California Residential Mitigation Program offers grants of up to $3,000 to retrofit specific types of older single-family homes.
- Also, consider the risk of your chimney. Chimneys are a notorious risk in earthquakes, in which bricks come flying off during shaking. There are some retrofit options, but some experts say the safest way to deal with the hazard is to remove them.
- Drop, cover and hold on when an earthquake hits
- California natives know this drill well: During an earthquake, drop to the floor and cover your neck and head with your hands. Get underneath a table and hold on!
- According to experts, running out of the building is not a good idea because the exterior of a building is one of the most dangerous places to be as objects fall.
What happens if you can’t get under a desk? Get as low as possible, protect your head and neck, and move away from windows or other items that can fall on you. Here are more detailed instructions, via EarthquakeCountry.org:
- In a bed: Hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow. Running is a bad idea – it’s easy to get cut on broken glass on the floor.
- In a high-rise: Drop, cover, hold on. Avoid windows. Don’t use elevators.
- In a theater or stadium: Stay in your seat or drop to the floor between rows, and protect your head, neck and arms. Don’t try to leave until the shaking is over.
- In a store: Drop and take cover under anything that can provide protection, like a shopping cart or inside clothing racks. If you need to move away from heavy items on high shelves, drop to the ground first and crawl the shortest distance away. Whenever you enter a retail store, take a moment to see what could fall on you during an earthquake.
- Outdoors: Move to a clear area if you can safely do it. Avoid power lines, trees, signs, buildings and vehicles.
- Near the shore: If severe shaking lasts 20 seconds or more, head to high ground in case a tsunami has been generated. Move inland two miles or to land that is 100 feet above sea level. Don’t wait for a warning, start walking. And don’t drive, to avoid traffic.
- Get a kit together
- Pack food, water, medicine and anything else you would need for at least 72 hours. If you have any pets, don’t forget to prepare for them as well.
- Consider keeping your car’s fuel tank half or three-quarters full at all times. A power outage will make it impossible to get fuel.
- Have some cash that includes small bills at home and in your wallet. ATM’s won’t work without electricity.
- If your food kit includes canned food, make sure you have a manual can opener.
- Consider earthquake insurance
- Earthquake insurance can be helpful for homeowners to have funds available to repair their homes quickly after a massive disaster; a typical homeowner policy won’t do so. Check your policy for coverage info and the expiration date.
- Renters can also benefit, particularly if a disaster leaves their apartment uninhabitable; earthquake insurance can cover the cost of temporary housing.