By Nikki Garrett Metzger
(Victor Valley) – The recent earthquake swarm that shook the area at the southern end of the San Andreas Fault, near the Salton Sea in Imperial Valley Sunday and Monday is garnering the attention of most of us who live near the fault. This is a good time to think about your earthquake plan and check your disaster preparedness supplies in preparation for the “Big One”.
According to USGS seismologists this is not the first time this area has experienced an earthquake swarm like this. The last time was in the 1970s. This recent swarm had over 100 earthquakes with the largest measuring 5.3 magnitude. However seismologists said the intensity of the swarm was going down, not ratcheting up.
As we have heard time and time again we are far overdue for a large earthquake on the San Andreas Fault. It is best to be prepared than caught unaware.
FEMA’s website Ready.gov provides the following things that you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property in the event of an earthquake.
- To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
- Fasten shelves securely to walls.
- Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
- Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
- Fasten heavy items such as pictures and mirrors securely to walls and away from beds, couches and anywhere people sit.
- Brace overhead light fixtures and top heavy objects.
- Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks. Get appropriate professional help. Do not work with gas or electrical lines yourself.
- Install flexible pipe fittings to avoid gas or water leaks. Flexible fittings are more resistant to breakage.
- Secure your water heater, refrigerator, furnace and gas appliances by strapping them to the wall studs and bolting to the floor. If recommended by your gas company, have an automatic gas shut-off valve installed that is triggered by strong vibrations.
- Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
- Be sure the residence is firmly anchored to its foundation.
- Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.
- Locate safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall. Reinforce this information by moving to these places during each drill.
- Hold earthquake drills with your family members: Drop, cover and hold on.
For more information on preparation and what to do during and after an earthquake visit http://www.ready.gov/earthquakes