SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif -- Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently, and without warning. Although San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties experienced a damaging earthquake only recently, the sad fact is, another could strike at any moment. Identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can reduce the dangers of serious injury or loss of life.
Government agencies working together in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties to support recovery from the San Simeon earthquake include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Officials of these agencies provide the following important information to help minimize injury and damage from any future earthquake.
Before the quake
Check for hazards in your home:
- Fasten shelves securely to walls.
- Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
- Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
- Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sit.
- Brace overhead light fixtures.
- Replace defective electrical wiring and rigid gas connections with approved flexible pipe.
- Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there is foundation damage or settlement, or if you cannot locate foundation anchor bolts.
- Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.
Identify safe places in each room:
- Under sturdy furniture such as a heavy desk or table.
- Against an inside wall.
- Away from where glass could shatter around windows, mirrors, pictures, or where heavy bookcases or other heavy furniture could fall over.
Locate safe places outdoors:
- In the open, away from buildings, trees, telephone and electrical lines, overpasses, or elevated expressways.
Make sure all family members know how to respond after an earthquake.
- Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water.
- Teach children how and when to call 911, police, or fire department and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.
- Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for information.
Have disaster supplies on hand:
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries or a hand-crank radio.
- First aid kit and manual.
- Emergency food and water
- Non-electric can opener.
- Essential medicines.
- Cash and credit cards.
- Sturdy shoes.
- A tool kit containing at least a crowbar and a wrench.
Develop an emergency communication plan.
- In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster.