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Creating an Earthquake Preparedness Plan

Creating an Earthquake Preparedness Plan

Earthquakes, often referred to as temblors and tremors, are unpredictable natural disasters that can be incredibly destructive and fatal for many.  The ground movement is caused by a slip along a fault line.  When stress builds up in the Earth’s crust (the outer layer), it eventually is released as the rocks suddenly slip.  The result is ground movement, shaking or rolling, as the released energy moves through the Earth’s crust.

California, in particular, often experiences the ground movement because there are two plates that come together in the state. The Pacific Plate extends from western California to Japan and the North American Plate includes much of the North America along with part of the Atlantic Ocean. Along the San Andreas Fault line, the Pacific Plate moves northwestward grinding past the North American Plate.  Researchers have measured the rate of movement to be approximately two inches each year. In certain areas of the San Andreas Fault system, tiny shocks and tremors can regularly be felt.  These are caused as stress is released from the creeping plates.  In other areas of the San Andreas Fault, stress builds up over several hundred years.  At some point, the stress must be released causing more powerful seismic activity.

Some people feel that there is nothing they can do to prepare for an earthquake.  For those living in earthquake-prone areas, including San Bernadino, there are many things that you can do today to create an effective earthquake preparedness plan both at home and at work.  Consider the following steps to ensure your own safety, as well as the safety of others:

Now is the time to be sure each person in your family or at your place of employment knows what to do when the ground starts to rock and roll.

  • Make sure everyone understands and practices “Drop, Cover and Hold”, both at home and at work, several times a year.  Doing so will help everyone become more mindful of their surroundings before strong seismic activity occurs.

1.  At home and at work, determine a meeting place ahead of time where everyone should meet after the ground stops moving.

2.  Be sure your child’s school or daycare provider has established an effective earthquake preparedness plan.

3.  Be sure to keep emergency supplies at home and at work – a small amount of non-perishable food, snacks for children and lots of extra water. Additional items to include might be work gloves, boots or sturdy shoes, a fire extinguisher, and sanitation supplies.

4.  Create or update your home emergency/disaster kit. Your kit should include a basic first aid kit, flashlights, extra batteries and at least one radio, along with an ample supply of prescription drugs that you might need.  Consider including cash and a credit card, copies of insurance policies, an extra set of keys, and a list of important phone numbers for family, doctors, vet, etc.

  • Everyone should know where the nearest emergency medical facility is located.
  • Discuss emergency preparedness plans with your neighbors and co-workers before the next earthquake occurs.  Determine if you need their help or if your help might be needed after an earthquake.
  • At home, secure furniture, including bookcases, china cabinets, etc., to wall studs. Heavy items should be placed on lower shelving units. Brace or anchor electronics and other heavy items, such as desks, pianos or desktop computers.  At work, secure any other items that could slide or fall.  Make sure drawers and cabinet doors can be fastened securely. Overhead light fixtures should be braced or secured.  Make a point to look for other non-structural measures that should be handled before the next earthquake to lower the chances of property damage or injury at home and at work.

If you are a commercial property owner, and your building is more than twenty-five years old, now is the time to consider a seismic retrofit.  Older buildings in the danger zones near the many fault lines in California were not built to withstand the powerful energy that is released when an earthquake occurs.  The professional team at Saunders Commercial Seismic Retrofit is available to thoroughly inspect your commercial building to determine whether it is strong enough to handle a strong quake.  Make a plan today to ensure the safety and security of your San Bernadino property.  For more information, call Saunders Commercial Earthquake Retrofit San Bernadino!

Southern California Office

(949) 646-0034

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