CALIFORNIA – By now most have heard about the Earthquake Advisory, 24/7 Headline News brought the news to you earlier this week. Many showed major concern since Californians, until now, have never heard of this type of advisory before. Some compared it to a wind advisory or a heat advisory, which more often than not we see wind or heat following that advisory. What is an Earthquake Advisory and what does it mean to us?
For starters, the reason that you have never seen an earthquake advisory before is because the State of California, at this time, does not have a public system to alert the public of these advisories. 24/7 Headline News was notified through an Advisory sent to Fire and Rescue personnel only, on September 27, 2016. This came from the California Governor’s Office Emergency Services Fire and Rescue Division and from the desk of the Fire Rescue Chief from the State of California.
Many questioned the legitimacy since the information, which was not immediately made public by other news organizations until the following evening or the following day. People living in the State of California thought it was some kind of hoax or misrepresentation of the news, some going so far as demanding removal of the 24/7 Headline News article. Others thought the article had to do with the fact that on Thursday, September 27, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill for the beginning of development of an “Early Warning Program and Advisory”, to be developed and presented to the legislature by February 1, 2018.
These warnings/advisories are not going to go out to scare anyone, they are simply to remind people that preparation is necessary, since California is “earthquake country” as writer, Jonathan Gudel explained it in a Cal OES article on Thursday. In his article, it was best said by the Cal OES director. “California is earthquake country. We must always be prepared and not let our guard down,” said Director Mark Ghilarducci. “The threat of an earthquake on the San Andreas Fault hasn’t gone away, so this is another important opportunity for us to revisit our emergency plans and learn what steps you need to take if a significant earthquake hits.”
Information provided from the 24/7 Headline News article, as earlier mentioned came directly from the non-public advisory. The notice states that due to the series of earthquakes approximately 4 miles from the specified area, this increased the risk of another larger earthquake coming to the counties of Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura. This increase in the probability of a major earthquake on the San Andreas Fault is valued at .03 to 1.0 percent until Tuesday, October 4, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. This is minimal, but being that for years the region has expected what many call the “big one”, any increase is reason to prepare.
As you know, Californians are typically a somewhat laid back bunch and think, “they have been saying an earthquake is coming for years now”, but an emergency plan can mean the difference between life and death for your family in the case of an earthquake or other disaster. September was Emergency Preparedness month and October brings the “Great Shakeout”, so the more reminders to keep Californians safe the better. These alerts, reminders and events are not to scare people, it is to remind everyone the importance of emergency preparedness.
How can I prepare?
Cal OES recommends preparing for if you will be isolated to your on your own for at least three days and nights. During this time there may be no utilities; so having gallons of water, flashlights, candles, lighters, blankets, and extra clothing is important. Phone lines and/or cell phone towers may be down making communication difficult; if not impossible. Roads may be damaged, causing travel to be difficult. Medical care may be unobtainable for several days depending on the magnitude of the disaster.
It is important to keep at least the following:
- Gas in your vehicle at all times, if the roads are operable you may decide to leave the area and depending on the type and size of the disaster gas may be scarce or gas stations may even be closed.
- 1 gallon of water per person per day for at very least three days.
- Enough food for those in your household for at least three days.
- Pet food and water for your pet(s)
- Flash lights, candles, and lighters.
- Extra batteries; enough for everything battery operated that you have plus extra
- Battery-powered or a hand crank radio.
- First aid kit including extra medication for anyone in the household who regularly uses medication
- Whistle or horn to signal for help
- Baby wipes or wet wipes
- Garbage bags
- Manual clan opener for food
- Solar cell phone chargers
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Dust mask to help filter any contaminates and plastic sheets and duct tape for windows and/or exterior doors.
- Blankets, there may be no gas service for a period of time
- If you have a baby, make sure to have enough baby essentials for at least 3 days (diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, etc)
All preparedness kits should be placed in a sturdy container that is less likely to be damaged in the case of a disaster. A heavy duty trash or storage totes can be a good option.
Besides for the kits, there are other ways to prepare including taking a tour through your home anchoring any tall shelves or other furniture that can create a hazard in the event of an earthquake. Also, limit heavy objects being on these shelves, as they may fly off of these shelves in the instance of a strong earthquake. If you have cabinets with heavier items you may choose to use child safety latches to keep the items inside secured.
A plan helps your family not only know what to do, but also causes a sense of security. The plan should include what to do if your family is separated through work, school, etc. Have a contact in another state where the entire family calls to check in if phone service is available but in state calling is overwhelmed.
During the earthquake, ready,gov recommends stay where you were until the shaking stops. You should not get under the doorway or run outside. You should also get down on your hands and knee and cover your head and neck with your arms to protect yourself from debris. If there is a sturdy desk or table nearby, you may get under these and they can provide extra protection, just remember to hold on to it so you can move with it through the shaking. You should stay away from windows, glass or anything that could fall including light fixtures.
If you are in bed when the shaking begins, you should stay in bed covering your head and neck with a pillow. You should avoid attempts to move through your home when it is dark and you can not avoid potential hazards. If you are outside you should move away from buildings, streetlights and utility wires then, “drop, cover and hold on”. Those in a moving vehicle should stop when safe to do so, stay in the vehicle and avoid stopping near buildings, trees, overpasses and utility wires. Once the earthquake stops, you should proceed cautiously watching for damaged roads and other hazards.
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