Tuesday, July 29, 2008

L.A. quake and Bay Area Wake Up Call

As a geologist, I feel compelled to issue this public service announcement for our Bay Area (and L.A. and Seattle) alumni. Today's moderate (M5.4) quake in southern CA is a good reason to evaluate your preparedness for the inevitable large (M6.7) earthquake in northern California. This map shows that based on fault analysis by the U.S. Geological Survey, there is a 62% chance of a large-magnitude quake in the next 25 years or so.

This website has some good information on living in earthquake country. You can check out your risk of significant shaking in specific neighborhoods. This is important because the type of rock or soil on which your house sits is often more relevant than the distance from a specific fault.

As most can't just move, it is important to be sure to have the following on hand. This is particularly important if you have younger children:

Household Disaster Kit

Electrical, water, transportation, and other vital systems can be disrupted for several days after a large earthquake. Emergency response agencies and hospitals will likely be overwhelmed and unable to provide you with immediate assistance. To help your family cope after a strong earthquake, store a household disaster kit in an easily accessible location, preferably outdoors (not in your garage). This kit, which complements your personal disaster kits, should be in a large watertight container that can be easily moved and should hold at least a 3- to 5-day supply of the following items:

Drinking water (minimum one gallon per person per day). This means 6-10 gallons per couple.

First aid supplies, medications, and essential hygiene items, such as soap, toothpaste, and toilet paper.

Emergency lighting—light sticks and (or) a working flashlight with extra batteries and light bulbs (hand-powered flashlights are also available).

A hand-cranked or battery-operated radio (and spare batteries).

Canned and packaged foods and cooking utensils, including a manual can opener.

Items to protect you from the elements, such as warm clothing, sturdy shoes, extra socks, blankets, and perhaps even a tent.

Heavy-duty plastic bags for waste and to serve other uses, such as tarps and rain ponchos.

Work gloves and protective goggles.

Pet food and pet restraints.

Copies of vital documents, such as insurance policies and personal identification.

NOTE: Replace perishable items like water, food, medications, and batteries on a yearly basis.

End of PSA


Nutmeg said...

Thank you Dr Jeff! As we don't live in an earthquake zone but a flood zone, many of these measures are the same. My folks still live in WC. Last year we gave them a Rubbermaid tub filled with this stuff, and a list on the inside of 'what to do' and a prepaid cell phone. They loved it.

We keep water, dried beans, rice and a couple of flats of canned peaches in the garage for just such emergency. We started doing this after 9-11 (which would be another interesting post -- where were you when...)

Thank you for the reminder!


Elizabeth said...

I heart the Juan de Fuca plate ;-)