Friday , 21 October 2016
"Kaiser Permanente Building After Northridge Earthquake" by Gary B. Edstrom
"Kaiser Permanente Building After Northridge Earthquake" by Gary B. Edstrom

99% Chance of 6.7 or Larger Quake; Are you Prepared?

VICTOR VALLEY, CALIF:( Today a minor magnitude 4.4 earthquake shook the Victor Valley area, with its epicenter located just miles from Devore, California, the same area that was hit by a 3.4 magnitude quake just last month. This past Sunday the Victor Valley also felt trembles from the 4.2 earthquake that was registered in the former mining town of Johannesburg, about 27 miles northwest of Barstow.

California has more than a 99% chance of having a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake within the next 30 years, according to a UCERF study released by the  U.S Geological Survey (USGS) , a scientific agency of the United States government.

The quake that hit just before 6 o’clock Tuesday night did not cause any serious damages, but rattled plenty of nerves. Over 11 aftershocks have already shook the area since the initial quake up and down the San Andreas Fault-line as of tonight.

For two decades, the ground beneath Southern California has been unusually quiet, until recently. The last magnitude 6.0 or greater was in 2014 near Napa Valley, and the last strong earthquake was the 6.7 that hit Northridge in 1994, killing 61 people and causing 15 billion in damages.

The results of the study serve as a reminder that all Californians live in earthquake country and should be prepared. Although earthquakes cannot be prevented, the damage they do can be greatly reduced through prudent planning and preparedness.

Although earthquakes are just one of the many parts of being a Californian, most households are not prepared. Households should prepare their home by bolting bookshelves, china cabinets, and other heavy furniture to wall studs. Also installing latches on cupboards and strapping the water heater to wall studs can prevent unnecessary damage and/or dangers.

Make sure mirrors, pictures and other wall hangings are anchored with studs and anything on the walls over beds should be removed or replaced with only lightweight items. Homeowners should consider replacing tubing running to gas appliances with corrugated metal connectors, which are less likely to break in the event of an earthquake. Also, make sure that all adults in the home know where the gas shutoff valve is located.

The Red Cross says that all households should include an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that you can both use at home or take with you in the case of necessary evacuations. A good way to store your kit would be in a large plastic storage tote or a 30-gallon trash can for durability as well as maneuverability.

Your kit should include a minimum of one gallon of water per person and non-perishable food items to last at least three days in the case of evacuations or a 2-week supply for your home. The food items should be easy to prepare and if it includes canned foods be sure to include a manual can opener in your kit. Best canned foods to consider would be: meats, fruits, and milk. You can also purchase shelf milk, dried fruit and nuts. Utilities can be off or erratic following a major earthquake so food choices should take little or no preparation.

The Red Cross also says to have at least one flashlight, and a battery-powered or hand-crank radio with extra batteries. All kits should include a first aid kit, at least a week worth of medications and medical items. A multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items (including wet wipes, sanitary supplies, waterless “rinse-free” body wash and shampoos), copies of important documents, cell phones with chargers, family emergency contact information, extra cash, emergency blankets, and area maps should also be included. Extra clothing, socks, hats and sturdy shoes for everyone in the household is also important.

Those with infants or family members with medical needs should take those needs into consideration when supplying the kit. Depending on the needs of those in your household other items to consider would be medical supplies, baby items, games or activities for the children, pet supplies, two-way radios, and extra car and house keys.

Since California has not experienced a devastating quake for many years most do not know what to do in the case of a large earthquake. Knowing what to do and what to expect can mean the difference between life and death in the case of a major earthquake. says to stay where you are until the shaking stops, do not run outside, or get in the doorway as it will not protect you from falling or flying objects. Next, drop down to your heads and knees, they said “drop to the ground, before the earthquake drops you”. Cover your head and neck with your arms or go under a sturdy desk or table for protection from debris. Stay away from glass, light fixtures or anything else that may fall.

Those in wheelchairs should lock the wheels and stay seated until the shaking subsides. Protect your head and neck with your arms or whatever you can use for protection. also says that if you are in bed to stay there covering your head and neck with a pillow. Those outdoors should move away from buildings, streetlights and/or utility wires. Go to an open area and drop, cover and hold on until the shaking stops. Those in a moving vehicle should stop as soon as it is safe to do so. Make sure you are not near buildings, trees, overpasses, utility wires or bridges.

Something interesting you may want to know: The largest recorded fatalities in California due to an earthquake was in 1906, when San Francisco was hit by a 7.8 earthquake. The largest earthquake recorded for California occurred in 1857 and was located in Fort Tejon, California, registering 7.9 in magnitude. This earthquake occurred on the San Andreas fault, which ruptured from near Parkfield (in the Cholame Valley) almost to Wrightwood (a distance of about 186 miles).

Remember, earthquakes are far less scary when your household is prepared with the tools and plan to get through it.

Let us know if you have prepared your household for the “big one” by commenting below. 

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About Christie Martin

Former contributor for Victor Valley News

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