San Diego County’s Office of Emergency Services urges residents in light of Earthquake Preparedness Month in California to have a plan to protect and recover in the event of an emergency,
San Diego County is home to three major active faults. The Rose Canyon Fault runs through downtown, Old Town, and La Jolla. The San Jacinto and Elsinore faults run through the northern and eastern areas of the county.
According to county officials, earthquakes along these faults could produce damaging earthquakes that may disrupt roadways, transportation, and services like water, gas, and phone communication for weeks or months. Coastal areas are also at risk for tsunamis.
“Taking steps to prepare now could reduce injuries and damage to your home and help your household recover in the event of a significant earthquake,” said Jeff Toney, director of the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services. “Many of these suggestions are cost-free and take just minutes to do. It’s important not to put emergency preparedness off.”
Earthquakes happen on a daily basis in the Golden State, nearly all being minor and many of which that go unnoticed. According to a long-range scientific model, California expects to see a 6.7 magnitude earthquake in the next 12 years.
However, the warning for a specific earthquake doesn’t come more than a few seconds ahead, meaning the only time to prepare for a significant earthquake is before one happens.
County residents are urged to download the SD Emergency app, which now has ShakeReadySD earthquake early warning technology, powered by ShakeAlert®, a product of the U.S. Geological Survey. The technology is designed to trigger an alert to your cellphone if you are in a location close enough to an earthquake with a magnitude greater than 4.5 and with a shaking intensity of 3 or greater.
If an earthquake has occurred nearby that is predicted to cause shaking within seconds, the app will urge users to take protective action such as Drop, Cover and Hold On or other safety measures.
At home, people can secure large furniture and electronics to wall studs, move heavy items to lower shelves, and install locks or latches on large cabinets. County officials recommend that residents identify the location of gas valves and have a tool to turn them off in the event of a gas leak.
Residents may learn what their risk for an earthquake is using this online tool and update their personal disaster plan. Templates of personal disaster plans are available in 12 languages to those in need of assistance, and a mobile version is available on the SD Emergency app.
It is recommended to discuss with household members to include reunion locations in the event of an earthquake, emergency supplies such as water, non-perishable food, specialized foods for infants, pets, first aid supplies, radios, flashlights, batteries, and extra medications.
To learn more about the steps you can take to prepare for earthquakes and other disasters, visit ReadySanDiego.org.