Shaky Shaky... Earthquake Tips and Tales
Shaky Shaky… Earthquake Tips and Tales
Good morning! If you follow me on Instagram, this post will look familiar, but I’ve expanded a bit in this entry for ya’.
A lot of us in Los Angeles are transplants; that is to say, we aren’t from here. However, I grew up in San Francisco and had the pleasure of experiencing the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake... so basically I moved from one earthquake magnet to another.
In light of the devastating quakes in Ridgecrest that shook us all the way over here in LA, I thought I would share a few tips in the event of a massive earthquake (or any quake for that matter).
Keep in mind also, LA folk, what we felt were ripple effects from the epicenter in Ridgecrest. I would estimate we felt approximately half of what they did, so if you think that was scary (and it WAS, mostly because we didn’t know at the time that it wasn’t directly under us or how big it would get!)… let’s hope we don’t get a big one out this way! Let’s hope no one does!
Without further ado, a little about earthquake preparedness…
1. If you live in an earthquake-prone area, SURVIVAL trumps all.
Stock up on bottled water and canned and packaged foods, enough for you and your household (pets too!) for at least a few days. Be sure to rotate these items, as they do expire eventually.
In wellness, we are all about no plastic and minimal (if any) packaged foods, especially those with an extended shelf life… but in a disaster, you need to step into survival mode.
(This is why you may see me with plastic bottles occasionally… I’m rotating my stash!)
Why supplies for a few days, you ask? Aside from tending to injuries that occurred during a large quake, the typical concerns in the aftermath include fire, gas leaks, broken glass/sharp objects, uneven/dangerous roads, lack of electricity, and lack of running water. It could take a few days for things to get up and running and back to some semblance of normalcy. That said – in addition to stocking up on food and water – keep your nose sharp, clean up broken stuff, stay off the roads, and be sure you have working flashlights and extra batteries on hand!
2. It might seem Counter-Intuitive, but you’re safest INDOORS.
Outside could equal falling trees and other debris, scared drivers, downed power lines… you see where that’s leading.
3. When a quake hits, DO NOT WAIT to see if it’s going to be big.
Get away from the windows, stairs, glass objects, hanging pictures, anything that could fall on you… and TAKE COVER. Get under a sturdy piece of furniture and protect your head and neck.
4. Breathe through it and remain CALM.
It’s scary and seems like it will last forever, but the shaking will stop. Panic never helped anyone. TRUTH.
5. WAIT FOR INSTRUCTIONS from emergency personnel in the aftermath.
Unless directed to (or unless you are in the path of a fire or are concerned about a potential gas leak), don’t be one of the four million people trying to evacuate at the same time. You could end up in more danger.
(FYI for those Angelenos who don’t know, we are situated on top of the Pacific Plate, west of the San Andreas fault… if you think you’re going to “escape” over the Grapevine, rest assured, you will be in traffic… and a sitting duck RIGHT ON TOP of the fault line!)
A few other notes:
· There is no such thing as “earthquake season” (seriously, who thought of this?)
· There is no such thing as “earthquake weather” (again, what?!)
· Earthquakes do not “prefer” day or night (they “prefer” showing up unannounced)
· No, California is not going to fall into the Pacific Ocean (c’mon now!)
My entire life, I’ve heard “the big one” is coming. What does that even mean?
I’ve read various explanations from multiple credible sources as to what the definition of “the big one” or a “great quake” actually is. Explanations vary widely based on multiple factors from magnitude and population density to loss of life and overall destruction. I read that they occur every 200 years… no, every 30 years… no, every… how many years? But wait… does it matter where? Is the timeframe based on fault line or geographic location? If there is one in San Francisco, does it “count” for Los Angeles… and then we’re safe… right? Ummm… for how long again?
It’s confusing to us non-seismologist folk.
Here’s what I know: our beautiful Earth keeps changing and shifting (obviously… shaky shaky!), and scientists are regularly discovering new things way down in the deep of Earth. While I’m a huge proponent of having as much information as possible, if that information is conflicting or misconstrued, it does us more harm than good.
It’s not my area of expertise by any means, but I’m simply not convinced that there have been any legit predictions of coming quakes. There is too much variability and there have been too many unfulfilled predictions as well as fulfilled surprises!
In any case, as much research as goes into predicting earthquakes, and as intelligent and hard-working as those researchers are (God love 'em, they’re trying!), Mother Nature ultimately has the upper hand.
More than anything, I know this for a fact:
It does us no good to freak out about when the next “big one” will hit.
Be prepared. Or move. That’s the best we can do.
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