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ShakeOut, don’t freak out

By Amy Warshauer / News Editor

By Amy Warshauer / News Editor

About every 150 years, the region of the San Andreas Fault experiences a catastrophic earthquake.

The last one was 300 years ago.

 Scientists have predicted that due to the delay in the incident, the upcoming earthquake is going to be the most destructive by far, plausibly a 7.8 scale, and lasting up to two minutes in various areas.

The magnitude of shaking is expected to make an estimated 1,500 buildings collapse, cause massive infrastructures crumble, and create serious damage to at least 300,000 buildings.

Most water, gas and power lines will be disrupted, if not completely destroyed, for months at time. An estimated 1,800 deaths, 53,000 injuries, and $213 billion in damage are the minimal expectations as estimated by the California Geological Survery published in 2008.
According to Ken Hudnut, who works as a geophysist, and with the U.S. Geological Survey and Earthquake Hazards Team, the quake will be rolling all the way down through Southern California.

“Through the ShakeOut study, we’ve learned that the large ground motions from a big one on the San Andreas fault would be large enough to potentially cause collapses of many tall buildings here in Los Angeles,” said Hudnut. “We have a panel of the world’s leading experts, structural engineers, who studied tall buildings and who are very familiar with the seismically vulnerable types of tall buildings assess what the damage would be. And we actually put in the ShakeOut scenario a total of 10 building collapses, most of which occurred right here in the Downtown Los Angeles area.”

As Southern Californians, it is important to be ready for the worst case scenario.
The level of personal preparedness each individual has will determine the severity of their personal situation, which is why many activists in California are currently trying to group together to raise an overall sense of awareness.

According to Shakeout.org, the official statewide Web site for California Earthquake preparedness, there are a few items that every resident needs to have for the future: a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, and one gallon of water for each person in the household to last three days.

It may also be beneficial to consider the positioning of your home, and whether it would be in good interest to investigate various types of insurance such as flood or earthquake.
Also, it is suggested that all families make an emergency plan.

In the event of the earthquake, power lines will be down and means of transportation will be near impossible. Be sure to pick out a meeting area with your family to make sure that everyone knows where to meet up together.

And of course, the most elementary rule is to ‘drop, cover and hold on’ when the earthquake occurs.

Also, try to be aware of the surroundings when taking cover.

A space with the most available exits will provide a better chance to find a way out of the structure, as the shaking will cause debris to fall from buildings and potentially trap possible exits.

ShakeOut has been doing numerous preparatory drills California wide to practice for the possibility of a future earthquake.

Denise Benson, Division Manager of San Bernandino County Fire Deparment and the Office of Emergency Services  comments.

“We cannot stop this from coming, it is hard to even predict it. However, we can be prepared for it. The more we work together, the better.”

The Web site provides its members to join into groups within their home vicinity. Currently, 6.9 million members have already contributed to making the difference for the future, and all California residents are encouraged to participate. For further information, visit ShakeOut.org or E-mail to info@shakeout.org to address any specific questions or concerns.
 

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