Earthquake Preparedness Guide

The disaster in New Zealand has San Diegans thinking about whether it could happen here.

Weather and nature are often the big stories. Just as we ended a long weekend which saw thousands of people from throughout San Diego county having so much fun in the Laguna Mountains, disaster struck at the other side of the planet. In Christchurch, New Zealand, people kept vigils outside buildings hoping loved ones would emerge. At least 145 did not, and many are still unaccounted for five days after the .

Now, seismologists and geologists around California are answering the question: could such a disaster happen here? Several are quoted in an article in The San Diego Union Tribune. People who answered the question generally agreed that the San Diego area could indeed suffer similar damage from a quake of similar magnitude because there are still plenty of unretrofitted buildings around. In Christchurch, even retrofitted buildings were damaged.

San Diegans are no strangers to the idea of emergency plans. Once in a while, however, it pays for us all to be reminded that we need to be prepared. Maybe we can use this as a time to check the date on batteries and make sure we have replaced any stored water supplies if we've borrowed from them. Here's a list of items and ideas for disaster preparedness, gleaned from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and CalFire.


Plan: Discuss a route out of the house and a place nearby to meet. If you have young children, put a drawing of the exit plan at eye level in their rooms. Discuss how you will contact each other if you aren't together.

Protect belongings: Consider flood insurance if it might be needed. Inventory and photograph belongings. Keep emergency money in a separate account. Keep vital records in a safe place, in such a fashion that you can quickly access them to take with you if needed.

People with special needs: Make sure there is an adequate supply of any special food, medications or equipment packed and ready to go in the event of an emergency.

Animals: Know where the local shelter locations might be. Large animals should be familiarized with trailers and transportation before a disaster. Familiarize yourself with primary and secondary evacuation routes. Make sure destinations have water, food, veterinarian services and handling equipment.

Safety: It's helpful to learn first aid and CPR, as well as how to use a . Remember that the FEMA inspired local CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) programs offer training.


Utilities: During a disaster, you may be advised to shut off gas lines. It's recommended that residents get instruction on this from their local utility company before trying it and that every household member watches or learns. If you smell a gas leak or hear hissing, get out of the house. Sparking electrical wires can ignite gas. Show all household members where the electrical circuit box is and how to shut off electricity.

Water: Cracked lines may pollute the supply to your house. It's recommended that you shut off the valve until you hear from authorities that the water is safe for drinking.


* At least one gallon of water per person per day. A three-day supply is recommended.

* Food. Choose food that doesn't make you thirsty. Salt-free crackers and cereal are recommended, plus canned food with lots of liquid content. A three-day supply is recommended.

* Battery operated radio or TV, plus batteries.

* Flashlight, plus batteries.

* First aid kit and manual.

* Sanitary supplies, such as toilet paper.

* Matches and waterproof container.

* Cooking utensils.

* Extra clothing, especially warm clothing for colder areas.

* Cash, including coins.

* Sleeping bags and extra blankets.

* Photocopies of credit cards and identification.

Kathy February 28, 2011 at 08:25 AM
I have just a couple of additional items that I keep in my emergency packs. We have a back pack for each family member that corresponds with their age. The back packs make it easy if you have to walk for long distances. I update the back packs annually. Powder Formula for children under age 12 months (sm. bottles water, for mixing & using) Children Book & sm. Toys (Children need distractions during a disaster time) Children's Tylenol Bottle Water (2 liters/day/person) Bleach or camping stores have chlorine tablets Manual Can & Bottle Opener ( most have electrical only) Hard candy, raisins or Fruit Roll Up (quick sugar for diabetics w/o medication handy) Extra set of car keys in emergency pack (car provides shelter, transportation, charging, etc)
TheUrbanPrepper March 14, 2011 at 04:59 PM
I can happen any were but ask yourself are you ready http://theurbanprepper.com/
Kathy March 15, 2011 at 12:58 AM
Unfortunately, we have witnessed what unforgivable fury an Earthquake can have. The lives, history, and futures that have been destroyed in Japan. My heart just breaks for them. We must prepare for that size of an earthquake to hit here in California. San Andreas will be relentless and will cause much more damage and many more lives, as it will consume large populated cities with very tall buildings. I realize that many of our freeways and newer buildings have been built with codes to withstand earthquakes but are they built to withstand a 8.9, I doubt it. I don't know if it would cause a tsunami, which caused majority of damage and lost lives in Japan but if it does, God help us. Please talk to your children and set up meeting points. If you have time, take a First Aid and CPR class, you might just be able to save some lives. We should not panic, just be better prepared, for not if, but when it happens.
RainWaterSystems January 16, 2013 at 04:35 PM
According to " the authorities " we may be without municipal water for two years. Google " California Katrina ". http://abraingutters.blogspot.com/2011/04/rain-water-harvesting-may-help-prevent.html


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