In the early morning of August 24, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake rattled through Napa County and surrounding areas, causing injuries, damaging homes, business and utilities, and delivering a jarring wake-up call to Californians reminding of our earthquake risks.
“In California, the risk of earthquakes is always present so it is critical that we understand how to be prepared for when – not if – the next quake will strike,” said Kathleen Weis, Chief Executive Officer of the Red Cross Capital Region. “While the Capital Region may not be known as earthquake hot spots, earthquake safety and preparedness is a necessity for all Californians.”
According to the United States Geological Survey, various levels of shaking from Sunday’s quake were felt throughout a widespread area of central California, including many areas within our 24-county Capital Region.
Disasters can strike at any time in any place. It is critical to have the knowledge and resources to react and respond quickly and safely when disaster strikes.
Earthquake Safety Tips
The Red Cross has several tips and resources to help people learn what to do before, during and after an earthquake – http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/earthquake
If someone is in inside when the shaking starts:
- They should drop to the ground, take cover and hold on. Move as little as possible. Try to protect the head and torso. If sitting at a desk or table, get under it and hold on to it until the shaking stops. Otherwise, drop wherever they are.
- If someone is in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on. Protect the head with a pillow.
- Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to exit.
- Use stairs to exit the building rather than an elevator.
- Be aware that fire alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire.
If someone is outside when the shaking starts:
- Move as little as possible. Find a clear spot away from buildings, power lines, trees and streetlights and drop to the ground until the shaking stops.
- If in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible. Stay inside with the seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops.
- If a power line falls on the vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
- If in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.
Download the American Red Cross Earthquake App
The free American Red Cross Earthquake App for iPhone and Android mobile devices gives users instant access to local and real-time information in order to help them make crucial decisions. People can view the app in English or Spanish based on user settings.
Features of the app include:
- Simple steps and checklists people can use to create a family emergency plan;
- Earthquake epicenter location, impact magnitude and local geographical impact data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey;
- One touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm’s way;
- Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm; and
- Locations of open Red Cross shelters.
The Earthquake App can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or at redcross.org/mobileapps. Additional earthquake safety information is available at redcross.org/earthquake.
This year also marks the 20th and 25th anniversaries of the devastating Northridge (1994) and Loma Prieta (1989) earthquakes. As we reflect on those disasters, the Red Cross also encourages people to turn awareness into action and register for the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill, coming up on October 16. Last year, more than 9.6 million Californians learned what to do in case of an earthquake and practiced it by participating in the event.
People can take part by registering at ShakeOut.org and practicing themselves or with others wherever they happen to be at the time.