COMPTON—If the 6.4 earthquake that rattled the earth from Mexico to Nevada the morning of the Fourth of July didn’t get Southern Californians attention, the 7.1 encore two days later certainly did.
To gain a better sense of the power of these two temblors, the deadly 1994 Northridge Earthquake in the San Fernando Valley registered right in between, 6.7.
The difference in destruction and loss of life being location from population centers. The quakes last week struck in the far more sparsely populated Mojave Desert.
And seismologists from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) are urging residents throughout California to heed the wake-up call.
And the American Red Cross is providing the blueprint for how to respond to an active quake and even more importantly, how to prepare your family and home for the inevitable.
During an earthquake, avoid moving around. Drop, cover and hold on.
• Try to protect your head and torso. If you are sitting at a desk or table, get under it. Otherwise, drop wherever you are.
• If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on. Protect your head with a pillow.
• Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit.
• If you must leave a building after the shaking stops, use stairs rather than an elevator in case of aftershocks, power outages or other damage.
• If you smell gas, get out of the building and move as far away as possible.
• Before you leave any building check to make sure that there is no debris from the building that could fall on you.
If you are outside, find a clear spot away from buildings, power lines, trees and streetlights. Drop to the ground and stay there until the shaking stops.
• If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible. Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Then, drive carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.
• If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
• If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.
After an earthquake, expect and prepare for potential aftershocks.
• Anytime you feel an aftershock, drop, cover and hold on.
• Aftershocks frequently occur minutes, days, weeks and even months following an earthquake.
• Also prepare for potential landslides, or a tsunami if you live in a coastal area.
DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross app “Emergency” can help keep you and your loved ones safe by putting vital information in your hand for more than 35 different emergency alerts. The Red Cross First Aid App puts instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies at your fingertips. Download these apps for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.
BE READY FOR DISASTERS
Getting prepared is easier than you may think. Your family can prepare by taking three simple actions:
• GET A KIT. Your emergency kit should contain supplies for at least three days, including a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, medications and copies of important documents. Don’t forget to grab items, such as diapers, for young children, and any supplies for family members with special medical needs. See full details here.
• MAKE A PLAN. Make sure to plan what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and what to do if you have to evacuate. Coordinate your plan with your child’s school, your work and your community’s emergency plans.
Include your pets in your emergency plans. Remember, if you and your family need to evacuate, so does your pet. It’s important to plan in advance to know which pet-friendly hotels are in your area, and where your pets can stay in an emergency situation. Find full details and easy-to-use plan templates here.
• BE INFORMED. Be informed about what disasters or emergencies may occur where you live, work and play, and how to respond as safely as possible. Find out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get important information. Take a first aid, CPR and AED course, so you’ll know what to do in case help is delayed. Learn how to get fully informed about emergencies here.
For more information and preparedness tips, visit redcross.org/prepare.