SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- When the ground shook beneath Napa just a little over a month ago, it was a sobering reminder that earthquakes are a way of life in California. The next one could be much more severe that the Napa temblor, involving many more people and structures. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges Californians to take steps now to prevent or minimize future damage.
Mitigation works! Loss reduction is possible and practical. Upgrading existing vulnerable structures and using improved designs in new costruction can result in fewer losses and a quicker recovery from earthquakes.
Safety is, of course, the primary goal of mitigation. In addition, improved building standards and mitigation, or loss reduction, have proven to be financially cost-effective. Earthquake insurance has become so prohibitive that many people feel that they cannot afford it.
To ensure that property damage is reduced, it is important for people to take basic mitigation steps, such as:
- Retrofit chimneys, if necessary
- Bolt framework to foundation
- Strap water heater
- Secure bookcases, shelves and tall furniture to walls
- Secure picture frames and mirrors to walls
- Install latches on cabinet doors
The President's disaster declaration of September 14 was for the County of Napa, which had been already designated by FEMA as a Project Impact community. Project Impact is a partnership-based, nationwide effort begun by FEMA in 1997, to help communities reduce the risk of disasters effects.
FEMA can provide you and your community more information about personal mitigation and/or Project Impact. There are many resources available to you - call FEMA publications at 800-480-2520 for the following:
- How-To Mitigation Tools
- Technical Assistance from FEMA personnel
- Prevention and Preparation "Tips" for individuals, Communities and Businesses
- Project Impact Community Guide book
- Project Impact Video to build support in your community and begin to take action
You can also contact your FEMA regional office at 415-923-7100.