came the myth that a doorway is the safest place to be during an earthquake. Today, few people in the Bay Area live in old, unreinforced adobe houses. In modern houses, doorways may be no stronger than any other part of the house and do little to protect you from falling debris. You are safer under a table, so “DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON.” Ϡ OCK H S ER to Follow the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety A F TG o b a c k 5 EP ST STEP 6—After the Quake, Check for Injuries and Damage O nce earthquake shaking has stopped, follow your disaster preparedness plans (see Step 2, page 22). Most importantly: Check for injuries NOTE: The manual in your first aid kit and the front pages of your telephone book have instructions on first aid measures. • Check yourself for serious injuries before helping others. Protect your mouth, nose, and eyes from dust. • If a person is bleeding, put direct pressure on the wound. Use clean gauze or cloth, if available. • If a person is not breathing, administer rescue breathing. • If a person has no pulse, begin CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). • Do not move seriously injured persons, unless they are in immediate danger of further harm. • Cover injured persons with blankets or additional clothing to keep them warm. Check for damage causing hazardous conditions • Fire—If possible, put out small fires in your home or neighborhood immediately. Call for help, but don’t wait for the fire department. • Gas leaks—Only turn off the gas if you suspect a leak because of broken pipes or detect the odor or sound of leaking natural gas. Use a manual gas shut off wrench to close your main gas valve by turning it counterclockwise. Don’t turn gas back on by yourself—wait for the gas company! (Your telephone book has information on this topic.) If your home is seriously damaged… • Damaged electrical wiring—Shut off power at the main breaker switch if there is any damage to your home wiring. Leave the power off until the damage is repaired! (Your telephone book also has information on this topic.) • Downed utility lines—If you see downed power lines, consider them energized and keep yourself and others well away from them. Never touch downed power lines or any objects in contact with them! • Falling items—Beware of heavy items tumbling off shelves when you open closet and cupboard doors. • Spills—Use extreme caution; when in doubt, leave your home! Spilled medicines, drugs, or other relatively non-toxic substance can be cleaned up. Potentially harmful materials, such as bleach, lye, garden chemicals, paint, and gasoline or other flammable liquids should be isolated or covered with an absorbent material, such as dirt or cat litter. • Damaged masonry—Stay away from brick chimneys and walls. They may be weakened and could topple during aftershocks. Don’t use a fireplace with a damaged chimney, as this could start a fire or trap toxic gases in your home! If your home is structurally unsafe or threatened by a fire or other secondary disaster, you need to evacuate. However, shelters may be overcrowded and initially lack basic services, so do not leave home just because utilities are out of service or your home and its contents have suffered moderate damage. If you evacuate, tell a neighbor and your family point-of-contact where you are going. Take the following, if possible, when you evacuate: Bring to a shelter ψ Personal disaster supply kits (see STEP 3, page 23). ψ Supply of water, food, and snacks. ψ Blanket, pillow, and air mattress or sleeping pad. ψ Change of clothing and a jacket. ψ Towel and washcloth. ψ Diapers, formula, food, and other supplies for infants. ψ A few family pictures or other small comfort items, such as dolls or teddy bears for children. ψ Personal identification and copies of household and health insurance information. ψ Books and games (especially for children). However, do not bring • Pets (service animals for people with disabilities are allowed—bring food for them). • Large quantities of unnecessary clothing or other personal items. • Valuables that might be lost, stolen, or take up needed space. Move on to STEP 7. If you suspect a gas leak, use a manual gas shut off wrench. Ϡ Related Web links: American Red Cross Association of Bay Area Governments 27 K H O Co S R TE kt What Should I Do? AF G o bac 5 P ST E STEP 7—When Safe, Continue to Follow Your DisasterPreparedness Plan O nce you have met your and your family’s immediate needs after the next strong Bay Area earthquake, continue to follow your disaster-preparedness plan (see Step 2, page 22). Check your food and water supplies If you cannot stay in your home… • If power is off, plan meals so as to use up refrigerated and frozen foods first. If you keep the door closed, food in your freezer may be good for a couple of days. • If your water is off, you can drink from water heaters, melted ice cubes, or canned vegetables. Avoid drinking the water from swimming pools or hot tubs; use it to fight fires. The American Red Cross (ARC) offers immediate emergency assistance with housing needs. ARC also supports shelter operations prior to a Presidential declaration of a Federal disaster. Once a Presidential declaration has been issued, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may activate the “Assistance for Individuals and Households Program.” This program includes: The first days after the earthquake. . . In the days following a damaging quake, pay special attention to the following: Safety first • Do not reenter your home until you know it is safe. • Be sure there are no gas leaks at your home before using open flames (lighters, matches, candles, or grills) or operating any electrical or mechanical device that could create a spark (light switches, generators, chain saws, or motor vehicles). • Check for chemical spills, faulty electrical wiring, and broken water lines. Water in contact with faulty wiring is a shock hazard. • Unplug broken or toppled light fixtures or appliances. These could start fires when electricity is restored. • Never use the following indoors: camp stoves, kerosene or gas lanterns or heaters, gas or charcoal grills, or gas generators, as these can release deadly carbon monoxide gas or be a fire hazard in aftershocks. Be in communication • Turn on your portable or car radio and listen for information and safety advisories. • Place all phones back on their cradles. • Call your out-of-area contact, tell them your status, and then stay off the phone— emergency responders need the phone lines for life-saving communications. • Check on your neighbors. 28 The first weeks after the earthquake. . . This is a time of transition. Although aftershocks may continue, you will now work toward getting your life, your home and family, and your routines back in order. Emotional care and recovery are just as important as healing physical injuries and rebuilding a home. Make sure your home is safe to occupy and not in danger of collapse in aftershocks. If you were able to remain in your home or return to it after a few days, you will have a variety of tasks to accomplish while reestablishing routines: • Home-repair cash grants; the maximum of Federal grant available is $26,200. • Housing Assistance in the form of reimbursement for short-term lodging expenses at a hotel or motel. • Rental assistance for as long as 18 months in the form of cash payment for a temporary rental unit or a manufactured home. • If no other housing is available, FEMA may provide mobile homes or other temporary housing. Tasks • If your gas was turned off, you will need to arrange for the gas company to turn it back on. • If the electricity went off and then came back on, check your appliances or electronic equipment for damage. • If water lines broke, look for water damage. • Locate or replace critical documents that may have been misplaced, damaged, or destroyed. • Contact your insurance agent or company right away to begin your claims process. • Contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to find out about financial assistance (see page 17). • If you cannot live at your home, set up an alternative mailing address with the post office. FEMA mobile homes being set up in Port Charlotte, Florida, to provide temporary housing for victims of Hurricane Charley (August 2004). Nearly a year after the storm, these trailers were still being used. (FEMA photo.) Money Matters A Review of Money Matters Financial Impacts of Earthquakes Don’t be fooled!— Myth number 7 Following a quake, disaster aid may not be immediately available, so you should plan ahead. If you have prepared a financial disaster recovery plan, you are more likely to recover successfully after a quake. Financial recovery planning resources are available from: • Operation Hope Emergency Financial First Aid Kit • American Red Cross—Disaster Recovery: A Guide to Financial Issues (2003) • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “I DON’T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT EARTHQUAKES— THE GOVERNMENT WILL SAVE ME!” Many people wrongly believe that the U.S. Government will take care of all their financial needs if they suffer losses in an earthquake. The truth is that Federal disaster assistance is only available if the President formally declares a disaster. Even if you do get disaster assistance, it is usually a loan that you must repay, with interest, in addition to mortgages and other financial obligations you still owe, even on damaged property. If you don’t qualify for loans, grants may be available to you. However, these are only designed to meet your most immediate needs, not to replace your losses (see pages 16 and 17). • Small Business Administration Your financial disaster recovery kit After a damaging earthquake, you will need copies of essential financial documents, as well as emergency cash. Keep these items together, current, and stored in a fire-proof document safe. Consider purchasing a home safe or renting a safe deposit box. Some essential items in your financial disaster recovery kit are: • Birth certificates. • Insurance policies. • Marriage license/divorce papers and child custody papers. • An inventory of your household possessions. • Passports and driver’s licenses. • Social security cards. • Naturalization papers and residency documents. • Military/veteran’s papers. • Critical medical information. • Cash, in the event ATM or bank services are disrupted. • Certificates for stocks, bonds, and other investments. For help in the first week after an earthquake—contact: • Bank statements. Your county office of emergency services • A list of phone numbers for financial institutions and credit card companies where you have accounts. American Red Cross 1-866-GET-INFO (438-4636) Govenor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) • Credit card numbers. • Appraisals of valuable jewelry, art, antiques, and heirlooms. • Home improvement records. • A backup of critical files on your computer (also keep a copy at work). • A list of names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of critical personal and business contacts. • Deeds, titles, and other ownership records for property such as homes, autos, RVs, and boats. • Powers of attorney, including health-care powers of attorney. • Wills or trust documents. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 29 What Else Should I Know? Earthquake Information on the Web A fter an earthquake, knowing more about what just happened can reduce fears and help you understand what to expect next. Online earthquake information products include: Location and magnitude of recent earthquakes Within 1 to 2 minutes of an earthquake, its location and magnitude are available at several Web sites, including and Who monitors California’s earthquakes? Earthquake monitoring for California is done by the California Integrated Seismic Network (CISN), a partnership among the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), University of California Berkeley, Caltech, the California Geological Survey, and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. CISN is part of a USGS national seismic-monitoring program called the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS). For more information go to: “ShakeMap” Within 5 to 10 minutes of most felt earthquakes (magnitude 3.5 and greater) in the Bay Area, a “ShakeMap” is posted on the Web. This map shows the range of shaking intensities across a region. Every quake has only a single magnitude, but it produces a range of shaking intensity values over the area in which it is felt. ShakeMaps use data from seismic instruments to provide a rapid picture of where the strongest shaking occurred. These maps help to identify areas where a quake’s impact is greatest and are used by emergency managers to speed disaster response. ShakeMaps are available at or ϛ Map of recent earthquakes in the San Francisco Bay region, just after the September 3, 2000 magnitude 5.2 Yountville (Napa) earthquake. “Did You Feel It?”—Tell us what you felt! Personal experiences of the effects of an earthquake are very valuable to scientists. When you have felt a quake, please report your observations by using a quick survey found on the U.S. Geological Survey “Did You Feel It?” Web site at When you fill out this online survey, your observations of actual damage and shaking are combined with those of thousands of other people. The quake’s shaking intensities, derived from these observations, are displayed by ZIP code on a “Community Internet Intensity Map.” Community Internet Intensity Map (“Did You Feel It?”) for the 2000 magnitude 5.2 Yountville (Napa) earthquake. More than 7,700 people reported their observations on this quake online.Ϝ 30 ϙ“ShakeMap” for the 2000 magnitude 5.2 Yountville (Napa) earthquake. The strongest shaking was not centered on the quake, but to the south in the soft soils of the Napa River Valley. Glossary Aftershock. Earthquakes that follow the largest shock of an earthquake sequence. They are smaller than the “mainshock” and can occur over a period of weeks, months, or years. In general, the larger the mainshock, the larger and more numerous the aftershocks and the longer they will continue. Creep. Slow, more or less continuous movement occurring on some faults. Creep does not cause shaking. Earthquake. Ground shaking caused by a sudden movement on a fault or by volcanic disturbance. Epicenter. The point on the Earth’s surface above the point at depth in the Earth’s crust where an earthquake begins. Fault. A fracture or crack along which two blocks of rock slide past one another. This movement may occur rapidly, in the form of an earthquake, or slowly, in the form of creep. Foreshock. An earthquake that precedes the largest quake (“mainshock”) of an earthquake sequence. Foreshocks may occur seconds to weeks before the mainshock. Intensity. A measure of ground shaking describing the local severity of an earthquake in terms of its effects on the Earth’s surface and on humans and their structures. The Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) scale, which uses Roman numerals, is one way scientists measure intensity. Landslide. A mass movement of soil, mud, and (or) rock down a slope. Liquefaction. The process that occurs when an earthquake shakes wet sandy soil until it behaves like a liquid, allowing sand to “boil up” to the surface, buildings to sink, or sloping ground to move. Magnitude (M). A number that represents the size of an earthquake source, as determined from seismographic observations. The original earthquake magnitude scale was the Richter or “local” scale (ML), defined by Charles Richter in 1935, but it has limited range and applicability. Modern magnitude scales are based on the area of fault rupture times the amount of slip (seismic moment).The moment magnitude (MW) is the preferred magnitude scale, as it provides the most reliable estimate of the size of the largest quakes. For smaller quakes, ML and MW values are nearly the same. An increase of one unit of moment magnitude (for example, from 4.6 to 5.6) corresponds approximately to a 31.6-fold increase in energy released [by definition, a two

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