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A Few Tips on Earthquake Preparedness

It was dubbed the "Napa Earthquake" after the 6.0 magnitude quake woke residents of the Napa Valley on August 24, 2014. Since then there have been aftershocks and other small "rollers" causing residents to evaluate their earthquake preparedness. California residents, do you know how to prepare and survive a major quake?

Many people think having bottled water on hand is a good idea, true, as long as you have enough. Some have heard standing in a doorway during the shaking is a good idea. That's false, you're more likely to be hurt by the door swinging wildly in a doorway.

Here are some basics for the next big one:

• Electricity, water, gas and phones may be out of order. The police and fire departments are likely to be tied up. You should be prepared to fend for yourself for at least three days, preferably for a week.

• You'll need food and water (a gallon a day per person); a first aid kit; a fire extinguisher flashlights; extra batteries, blankets, clothes, shoes and cash (ATMs may not work); medication; baby and pet food; and an alternate cooking source (barbecue or camp stove).

• Secure water heaters, major appliances and tall, heavy furniture to prevent them from toppling. Keep hazardous or flammable liquids, heavy objects and breakables on low shelves or in secure cabinets.

During an Earthquake:

• If you're indoors, stay there. Get under ­ and hold onto ­ a desk or table, or stand against an interior wall. Stay clear of exterior walls, glass, heavy furniture, fireplaces and appliances. The kitchen is a particularly dangerous spot. If you're in an office building, stay away from windows and outside walls and do not use the elevator.

• If you're outside, get into the open. Stay clear of buildings, power lines or anything else that could fall on you.

• If you're driving, move the car out of traffic and stop. Try to avoid parking under or on bridges or overpasses. Try to get clear of trees, light posts, signs and power lines.

After an Earthquake:

• Check for fire or fire hazards. If you smell gas, shut off the main gas valve. If there's evidence of damage to electrical wiring, shut off the power at the control box.

• Items may be dislodged during the quake, be aware that upon opening they may fall out of cupboards or closets. Chimneys can be weakened and fall with a touch. Check for cracks and damage to the roof and foundation of your home.

Written by James P. Nevin james.jpg

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