San Francisco, CA -- The Recent Napa County Earthquake was probably not the last one that will occur in this area. Earthquakes are a way of life in California. The quake, of September 3, was not a major one. The next one could be much more severe, involving many more people and structures. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES) recommend that individuals, families, businesses and communities make preparations now for the eventuality of a major quake.
"It is essential to have a disaster strategy," Mark Ghilarducci, the federal coordinating officer for the disaster recovery effort, said. "Lives can be saved and damage to property reduced by taking action before the disaster occurs."
The key elements of an effective disaster strategy are to take mitigation steps in advance, to maintain a checklist of supplies and to have a family plan of action when the disaster occurs.
Some of the more important supplies to keep on hand at all times are flashlights (check batteries frequently), bottled water, canned food and heat, a portable radio, extra blankets and a fire extinguisher.
The earthquake action plan should include a list of the safe and unsafe areas in the home. Areas such as under sturdy tables or desks are usually considered safe. It is unsafe to be near hanging objects, fireplaces, swinging doors and unsecured furniture. A location away from the home should be selected for family members to meet in case of separation. An out of state family member or friend should be selected so that separated family members can maintain contact. At least one family member should learn how to shut of gas, water and electricity. Practice drills should be conducted frequently.
Individuals who want to obtain technical assistance and more detailed information about earthquake preparation are encouraged to contact FEMA publications at 1-800-480-2520, the FEMA regional office at 1-415-923-7100 or the FEMA Website.