For Heaven Quakes
By Anna Sachse
On May 22, scientists unveiled a hypothetical scenario describing how a magnitude 7.8 earthquake would impact SoCal, causing loss of lives and massive damage to infrastructure. In the scenario, the earthquake would kill 1,800 people, injure 50,000, cause $200 billion in damage and have long-lasting social and economic consequences, with the greatest damage occurring near the stretch of the San Andreas Fault that extends through the Coachella Valley, Antelope Valley and Inland Empire.
Most of us here in the IE have probably experienced some small earthquake or another (see how many quakes have occurred here in just the last day on the Southern California Earthquake Data Center website, www.data.scec.org), but this would be the real sheBANG, and it would be bad. Real bad.
The whole point of the 7.8 scenario is to provide the necessary scientific framework for the largest earthquake preparedness drill in California history—the “Golden Guardian ’08,” scheduled for November 13. This exercise, jointly organized by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the California Office of Homeland Security, will test the ability of emergency responders to deal with the impact of a giant earthquake on the San Andreas Fault and will occur during a week-long series of public events planned for the Great Southern California ShakeOut (www.shakeout.org).
The ShakeOut is all about community awareness, but let’s get started early with some what-to-do-in-an-earthquake advice from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Drop to the ground and take cover by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; hold on to the furniture until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures.
Unless you’re under a heavy light fixture that could fall, stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow.
Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and if you know it is strongly supported and loadbearing.
Stay inside until shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.
Don’t go inside.
Move away from buildings, streetlights and utility wires.
Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits, and alongside exterior walls. Many of the 120 fatalities from the 1933 Long Beach earthquake occurred when people ran outside of buildings only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls.
IF IN A MOVING VEHICLE
Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses and utility wires.
Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.
IF TRAPPED UNDER DEBRIS
Do not light a match.
Do not move about or kick up dust.
Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Shout only as a last resort, as shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.