East County News Service
July 10, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – Fault lines in and near East County have become more active since the Easter earthquake in Mexico. Both the San Jacinto and Elsinore faults have potential for a quake measuring 7.0 or higher, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Fortunately, planning and identifying hazards ahead of time can reduce risk of serious harm before an earthquake hits.
For example, repairing deep plaster cracks in ceilings and foundations, anchoring overhead lights to the ceiling, and upgrading to meet local seismic building standards help reduce the impact of a quake. Creating an emergency supply kit and a family evacuation plan are also important. Below are earthquake safety tips providing by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that you can take now—before a major quake hits our region.
Six Ways to Plan Ahead
1. Check for Hazards in the Home
o Fasten shelves securely to walls.
o Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
o Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
o Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sit.
o Brace overhead light fixtures.
o Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks.
o Secure a water heater by strapping it to the wall studs and bolting it to the floor.
o Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
o Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.
2. Identify Safe Places Indoors and Outdoors
o Under sturdy furniture such as a heavy desk or table.
o Against an inside wall.
o Away from where glass could shatter around windows, mirrors, pictures, or where heavy bookcases or other heavy furniture could fall over.
o In the open, away from buildings, trees, telephone and electrical lines, overpasses, or elevated expressways.
3. Education Yourselves and Family Members
o Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on earthquakes. Also read the "How-To Series" for information on how to protect your property from earthquakes.
o Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police, or fire department and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.
o Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water.
4. Have Disaster Supplies on Hand
o Flashlight and extra batteries.
o Portable battery-operated radio and extra batteries.
o First aid kit and manual.
o Emergency food and water.
o Nonelectric can opener.
o Essential medicines.
o Cash and credit cards.
o Sturdy shoes.
5. Develop an Emergency Communication Plan
o In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster.
o Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
6. Help Your Community Get Ready
o Publish a special section in your local newspaper with emergency information on earthquakes. Localize the information by printing the phone numbers of local emergency services offices, the American Red Cross, and hospitals.
o Conduct a week-long series on locating hazards in the home.
o Work with local emergency services and American Red Cross officials to prepare special reports for people with mobility impairments on what to do during an earthquake.
o Provide tips on conducting earthquake drills in the home.
o Interview representatives of the gas, electric, and water companies about shutting off utilities.
o Work together in your community to apply your knowledge to building codes, retrofitting programs, hazard hunts, and neighborhood and family emergency plans.