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Earthquake Preparedness  Hints

Family,  Business & Neighborhood



October 17, 2019

Loma Prieta +30

A brief reflection about a few things we learned to consider as a result of living through the Loma Prieta earthquake in October 1989....   Small things can make a huge difference:


Store enough drinking water on hand for a week (more than the usually recommended 3 days). Allow more than one gallon per day per person - that is a really conservative estimate of water usage.


Do you have enough plywood full sheets  on hand already at home to cover your broken windows, missing walls, and the fallen chimney if you had one? The local Home Depot or Lowes store won't have it when you try to get "just a few sheets" . Everyone will be trying to get a few sheets. 


The same rule of thumb goes for batteries - AAA - to size D or whatever size you need for a portable transistor type radio,  walkie-talkie use,  flashlights, battery operated lanterns. Find out what sizes you need to run the devices you expect to need to use - and add in some extras of each size you will use. Do it today while you are thinking about it! 

Reminder: Store the batteries in a ziplock bag in your earthquake kit not installed in the device - the batteries will last longer this way as they are not discharging as much if not "in" the device.


Do you have any kind of camping tent to sleep in if your house is so badly damaged that you cannot sleep inside safely ?  Got any spare rain tarps?


Do you have money out of the ATM or bank - in small bills if the electronic money handling systems are out of service for an extended length of time? 


Have you notified your local Fire Department  in writing if you have a frail or elderly, or disabled or special-needs person in your family so they know where to look first if they have to assist in an emergency evacuation?


Don't forget extra supplies for your pet if you have one - food and water and medication if needed.


Look around in your garage and see about what you have right now if the earthquake happened in the next 30 minutes. How well would your family fare through it?


A lot of folks do not realize that the majority of all drinking water supplies serving the Bay Area  will be out of commission if the Hayward Fault ruptures the Hetch-Hetchy line through the Diablo Range to the San Mateo terminus.   While California's OES and FEMA will be  working feverishly to get water back online - it is a safe  guess that it will be a while before they succeed.



Santa Clara's HEAT   Home Emergency Assistance Teams program began in 1995. Since the program began, hundreds of participants have learned about the City's emergency organization and have received the 20-hour training. The training, which consists of 4 classes, covers safety, awareness, preparation, utility control and fire suppression, basic medical care, damage assessment, light search and rescue, communications, terrorism awareness, and HEAT team management.

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