Sitting on my couch playing Sudoku, I was not prepared to feel the rolling and movement of another earthquake in less than two days. The last time I remember feeling this sort of roll was the San Francisco event that had me running under my doorway which I now understand is NOT the correct place to be. As I watched my chandelier sway and my driveway roll I knew that the epicenter was close. One very big blessing that day was the fact that my father-in-law was at the World Series at that exact time. If he had not been at the baseball game he would have been sitting in traffic on the part of the freeway that collapsed. An interesting point to note is that the Bay Bridge, not far from the collapse was scheduled to be retrofitted that very next week.
It was almost a full day before we were able to contact all of our loved ones who lived in and near the city to make sure that everyone was alright. Twenty-four hours of waiting and wondering was more than I wanted to experience any time soon. But one thing I know for sure is that I would eventually go through another earthquake. Which brings me back to the question – Are YOU ready?
Another question that is on the minds of many is whether or not your home, apartment building, or workplace will be able to sustain a major earthquake. In fact, my son has asked us this very question. He has been preparing, but I have to say that the rest of are not ready and I am going to venture a guess – you are not either. The fact is, we all need a plan and this recent earthquake is a reminder of that very point.
Resource: The best thing to do is to access the web and look for essential items. The recommendation is to be prepared with batteries, generator, 2-3 weeks of food and water, back up phone battery, etc.
Here is a quick and easy resource https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit
Here are some tips:
- Prior to Earthquake:
- Put together an emergency kit
- Plan for a place to meet if you are not all in the same location
- How will you get to the location?
- What if transportation will not allow access?
- Identify a friend or relative everyone can call outside of area to check in with.
- Protect your head
- Drop, take cover and hold on (no, doorways are not the best place)
- Stay in place
- Make yourself as small as possible
- Call LA County.gov/emergency for more information
- Smell for gas and turn source off if possible
- Remember your earthquake plan and begin to execute
Some facts that I gleaned from Dr. Lucy Jones:
- The intensity between a 6.4 and 7.1 quake is 8x’s greater
- The first 24 hours is when you will experience the most aftershocks – there is over a 60% chance of a 5.0+ event
- The following week:
- There is a 50% chance of a 6.0+ earthquake
- There is an 11% chance of a 7.0+ earthquake
- When the BIG one hits it is going to impact our water supplies and the reality is that we may have to wait for months, not weeks or days, for water. Almost 80% of our water comes in from out of state so Southern California will be greatly impacted and water will be a major concern.
- Other issues will be emergency personnel, transportation, communication, hospitals and shelter.
It is certain that this information is just barely touching the surface felt by this recent quake. The gentle rolling that we felt 25-75 miles away is simply a reminder or wake up call to what will happen – and it will happen.
But just how safe is your home or building? According to Optimum Seismic, a retrofitting expert, there are small yet important things that can be done. The cost will vary depending on how extensive the work is, but one can never put a cost on life – the cautionary tale here is to be aware not complacent, to take action and not drift into that comfortable space where we simply tell ourselves that it won’t happen. Sooner or later we will all wonder why we didn’t take the advice of my son and prepare.