During the past few weeks Southern California experienced earthquake swarms near the southern portion of the San Andreas Fault near the Salton Sea. These swarms prompted officials to issue earthquake warnings which only served to frighten people needlessly.
Let’s face it, we live in earthquake country and at any time the ground could start shaking unleashing destruction over a large swath of Southern California. The fact of the matter is that Southern California experiences hundreds of earthquakes but they are so small no one can really feel them. There will never be any warning of an impending earthquake despite what geologists an scientists say.
So now what? Are you prepared for a major earthquake?
In case you have short memory and have forgotten about the 1994 Northridge earthquake, Landers earthquake or even the 1989 San Francisco-Oakland earthquake, then you need to keep reading. There are enough reasons and examples of why you should be prepared for a major earthquake in Southern California.
Let’s look at some facts and statistics:
The 1994 Northridge earthquake was a blind thrust quake registering at a 6.7 magnitude (some sources say as much as a 7.1) that caused between $13 – $44 million in damages. The quake lasted about 20 seconds and during that time there were 57 fatalities, 33 which were immediate. There were 8,700 injuries and about 1,200 requiring hospitalization. During that time water and power was disrupted for almost 7 days in some areas.
Just after the earthquake, everyone was encouraged to have a 24 hour kit however over the years we have learned that a 24 hour kit is just not enough. We encourage people to have enough supplies and food for at least a week since if a major quake occurs, it may be up to 4 to 7 days before emergency services can reach the hardest hit areas. During that time it will be up to people to be able to survive until crews arrive.
What should you have in your survival kit?
- Instruction manual on Emergency Preparedness
- Battery Powered Radio
- First Aid Kit and Manual
- Sleeping Bags and Blankets (Wool and Thermal)
- Can Opener
- Waterproof/Windproof Matches
- Non – Perishable Foods
Suggested Items: Ready-to-eat goods in unbreakable containers, canned meats, juice, fruits & vegetables, powdered mild, infant carefoods, crackers, peanut butter, freeze-dried & dehydrated goods, meals ready-to-eat (MRE’s)
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Water Storage (1 gallon/person/day)
- Water Purification/Filtration
- Utility Knife/Multi-tool
- Emergency Candles
- Extra Eyeglasses/Contact Lenses
- Essential Medications
- Extra Clothing
ITEMS TO HAVE ON IMMEDIATELY:
- Flashlight with spare batteries (keep a flashlight beside every bed in the house)
- Portable Radio with spare batteries (land lines and cell phones may be out of order so radio will be your best source of information)
- First Aid Kit (everyone should know basic first aid)
- Smoke Detectors & Class ABC Fire Extinguishers
- Pipe Wrench & Adjustable Wrench for turning off gas or water mains
- Work Gloves, Work Boots to assist with rescue work (or CERT kit if trained)
OTHER EMERGENCY NEEDS:
- Paper & Pen
- Copies of Insurance Policies and Personal Papers
- Cash (money)
- Important Addresses/Phone Numbers