April is the month of the 1906 "big quake". I have lived in California all my life and lived with the little jolts every now and again. I remember the last one in 1989 the Loma Prieta. We hear the next big one is coming soon, very soon and we need to be prepared.
Earthquakes are one of the most common natural disasters and are also known to be one of the most destructive. Often times it is not one home or business that is affected by an earthquake, but an entire region. Here are some refresher's on getting ready.
Would you be prepared if an Earthquake struck today? It is important to plan what you would do before, during and after an Earthquake. Before an earthquake, you need to prepare an emergency kit with enough food and water for 72 hours, first aid supplies, portable radio and flashlight with batteries, blankets, cash and a photo ID. You should also know where the safe spots (under sturdy tables or against and interior wall) and danger spots (near windows, mirrors, unsecured furniture) are located within in your home or office. Decide ahead of time where your family will meet up if you are separated, and learn how to shut off gas, electricity and water in case your lines are damaged. Make sure that each family member or coworker is aware of the plans and knows what to do in the event of an earthquake.
Where do you go to stay safe? During an earthquake, get under a sturdy table or desk if indoors. If there isn't a table or desk near you, cover as much of your face and head as possible with your arms and crouch near an inside corner of your building or home. If possible, do not go outdoors until the shaking has stopped. According to the FEMA Web site, in the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, many of the 120 casualties were caused by people running outside of buildings and being hit by falling debris or collapsing walls. If you are outside, get in an open area without trees, power lines or walls. The greatest danger is to be too close to a building that could potentially crumble. If driving, pull your car over and stay put until the earthquake is over. After the earthquake, avoid roads and bridges that may be damaged.
What do I do after an Earthquake? Much like any natural disaster, the first seventy- two hours after an earthquake are the most critical. You have to assume that electricity, gas, communication channels and water may not be available. In addition, public safety services such as the police and fire departments will be busy handling serious crises events. Utilize the emergency kit you prepared before the disaster, leave a message with friends and family to let them know where you can be found, check for gas and water leaks and report them to your utility company. Also be prepared for aftershocks. Aftershocks are usually not as intense as the initial quake, but may still cause damage. It is also important to stay away from any damaged areas. This may include roads, bridge and buildings in your area. Stay where you are unless directed by emergency personnel.
The information above can be found at http://www.ci.san-bernardino.ca.us/fire/earthquake.html. This is an excellent site!