Twenty-eight years ago today an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 hit the Bay Area. There were sixty-seven fatalities and over three thousand people were injured. Hundreds of fires ignited throughout San Francisco caused $5 billion dollars in damages. This quake, called the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, is a painful reminder that we need to be prepared for natural hazards. There are multiple fault lines that run through California, putting San Francisco at risk for a catastrophic earthquake. And, as we’ve seen with the North Bay wildfires, we also need to prepare for life threatening fires. With this in mind, we’ve put together a short list of some simple things you can do to prepare.
Have a Plan
Designate a Meeting Place: Have a household escape plan showing two emergency exits from every bedroom (usually a door and a window) and a family meeting place outside, away from any structures. Practice your home escape plan at least twice a year.
Assign an Out of Town Contact: This person will act as the center for family communication in case your family gets separated.
Know What to do When it Hits: Practice earthquake drills, especially with young children, where household members identify potentially hazardous areas of the home and practice duck-and-cover techniques in the designated “safe” areas.
Prepare Your Home
Secure Items: Look for items that could fall or move and cause injuries or damage (e.g., bookshelves, mirrors, light fixtures, televisions, computers, hot water heaters.
Beds, Cribs and Couches: Move beds away from windows and secure any hanging items over beds, couches, cribs or other places people sit or lie.
Know What to Pack
Water and Food: A 3-day supply of water (1 gallon per person per day) and freeze dried camping food/ non-perishables for 7-14 days.
Documents and Cash: Keep a copy of all important documents (insurance, passports, birth certificates) and cash in a folder with your other survival items. In case of a fire grab this folder if you have time.
Emergency Kit: 3-7 days earthquake emergency kit for you and your family alongside any medications.
The fallout of an earthquake can mean several aftershocks, fires, and the absence of phone and internet services. It is important to stay aware of the ongoing situation and maintain constant contact with your local emergency services.
How have you prepared for the next earthquake or fire? Share your ideas and help us all be better prepared.