Shakin’ and Quakin’

January 19, 2010

Earthquakes are definitely in the news lately, with three minor quakes in the Bay area in last few weeks; see here and here – a 6.5 on the Richter scale was luckily located offshore near Eureka in the lightly populated Humboldt county. It was followed by a 3.3 quake. Now the tragic 7.0 quake in Haiti. All COWS know that it’s only a matter of time before the “Big One” hits locally.

All COWs know that we should be prepared but most of us put it off. Here are some reminders from local and regional authorities on how to avoid a cowlamity.

Before An Earthquake:

• Do an earthquake preparedness check. Has your water heater been secured to the wall? Do you know how to turn off your gas line, water and other utilities? Does your foundation need retrofitting? More information can be found here.

• Experts say that you might be left on your own for up to three days after a major quake. Making sure your family has enough food, water, and emergency supplies is vital. Put together an earthquake kit for your family. It is good to have important papers such as insurance papers, birth certificates and passports handy in case of need. A list for items to have in your kit can be found here. Make sure every member of your family knows where your kit and supplies are located.

• It is very important to have an emergency plan for your family. Make sure you have contact numbers for every member of your family. An agreed upon plan on where to meet and who to contact in case you are separated is essential. Know how to contact emergency providers, how to turn off gas, water, and other utilities, and where your emergency supplies are. It is advisable to practice evacuating your home especially if you have children. Make sure children know what to do in case of an emergency and how to protect themselves and find help. Please read here and here.

• Incorporate your animals into your plans! Make sure you know what you’ll do to care for your dogs, cats, horses, and armadillos in case of disaster. Consider micro-chipping your animals in case they get lost in the confusion. For more information see here.

• It is a good idea to take first aid and CPR classes in advance of a disaster, just in case those skills become necessary. You might save the lives of those closest to you. Check this Website for location and times.

• Consider joining CERPP (Citizen’s Emergency Response Preparedness Program). Joining with your friends and neighbors helps makes neighborhoods stronger, ensures you will be kept updated with current information, and help Woodside bounce back faster in the event of a major quake. (Contact the WFPD business office 650-851-1594 during business hours (0800-1700hrs Mon-Thrs) to learn which division includes your residence. )

During An Earthquake:

• Follow the standard safety advice that you undoubtedly learned in elementary school. If you’re indoors, get underneath a heavy table or by a solid wall or under a doorframe. Stay away from windows, mirrors, and other objects that might shatter. If you’re outside, stay in the open, away from buildings and power lines. If driving, pull over and stop. Avoid buildings and bridges that may collapse. Be aware of the potential for landslides and tsunamis. For more tips check here.

After An Earthquake:

• If you smell gas, shut off your gas main. If you detect electrical problems, turn off your electricity. Avoiding fire is a major goal after an earthquake. Stay away from downed power lines.

• Avoid driving and use the phone sparingly –emergency personnel may be using both. DO check in with CERPP. Contact the WFPD business office 650-851-1594 during business hours (0800-1700hrs Mon-Thrs) to learn which division includes your residence.

• Check for damage to make sure your home is safe to stay in and listen to the radio and other sources of information to assess the impact of the earthquake on the area.

• Be ready to evacuate, if ordered, in case of fire. If you do leave your home, authorities say you should leave a note stating where you plan to go.

• For more information on disaster preparedness, please see the Woodside Fire Protection District’s excellent page. Also see here for more.

Be safe COW’s.

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