Sept. 24, 2013 — Lassen County residents and those living in Northeastern California undoubtedly will remember the moderate 5.7 magnitude earthquake that shook our region last May. That event should be a wake-up call that we truly do live in earthquake country.
While geologists cannot accurately predict when or where an earthquake will strike, a temblor could occur at any time in any part of the Golden State.
We encourage all our readers to be prepared for an earthquake. Information on the seven steps to earthquake safety is available at earthquakecountry.org, the website of the Earthquake Country Alliance.
Your level of preparedness will determine your quality of life in the weeks and months that follow a large earthquake.
According to the website, step one is to secure your space by identifying hazards and securing moveable items. Bookcases may collapse in the event of an earthquake and heavy appliances such as refrigerators may move.
Step two is plan to be safe by creating a disaster plan and deciding in advance how you will communicate in an emergency. Family members should select a safe location where they will meet after an earthquake and how they will let others know they are safe.
Step three is to organize disaster supplies in convenient locations. It may be impossible to obtain food, water, medical supplies and other items you may need immediately after an earthquake, so it’s important to gather those things so they are available in the event of an earthquake.
Step four is to minimize financial hardship by organizing important documents, strengthening your property and considering the purchase of earthquake insurance.
Step five is to drop, cover and hold when the earth shakes. Stand in a doorway or get under a sturdy table or desk and wait until the earth stops moving. Residents should move close to an interior wall away from windows that could shatter. Do not remain near items that may fall. Because earthquakes can start fires, it’s a good idea to have a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to shut off the natural gas or propane service to your home or business. Those lines may rupture in the event of an earthquake. Here in rural California, one may move outside if there is not danger of being stuck things that may fall such as trees or power lines.
Step six is to improve safety after an earthquake by evacuating if necessary, helping the injured and preventing further injuries or damage. Make sure you check on elderly or disabled family members or neighbors who may need assistance in the event of an emergency.
Step seven is to restore daily life by reconnecting with others, repairing the damage and rebuilding the community.
Geologists report evidence that several earthquakes with a magnitude of 7 or larger have rattled the Honey Lake area in the recent geologic past, and once an area has experienced an earthquake the scientists say another one could strike at any time.
For the safety of your family, your loved ones and our entire community, we need to be prepared. An ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure.
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