Tuesday, Los Angeles County residents were awakened by a jolting little rumble in the wee hours of the morning, reminding everyone that Californians live in earthquake country.
The 4.4 tremble could be a precursor for a much larger earthquake along the San Andres faults, according to seismologists.
Consequently, it is a good idea for residents to prepare for the next quake.
The Emergency Survival Program of the County of Los Angeles recently published a checklist for residents to follow to prepare for a more devastating earthquake. Seven simple steps can help you stay safe and survive.
1. Fix potential hazards in your home–latch cabinets, secure hanging fixtures, and store dangerous materials in safe places.
2. Create a disaster plan including practicing “drop, cover and hold on.” This means dropping to the floor, taking cover under a sturdy desk or table and holding onto it firmly. Also remember that the area near outer walls is very dangerous, so don’t try to go outside during shaking.
If you are outside, move to a clear area, if you can safely do so; make sure you avoid power lines, trees and other hazards.
Also keep emergency supplies such as flashlights, a fire extinguisher and other necessary equipment in accessible places. Keep an updated emergency contact list along with children’s emergency release forms.
3. Create disaster supply kits; remember your most important forms, contacts and identification materials. Be sure to pack medications, a first aid kit, food and bottled water. Keep your disaster kits at home, work and in your car.
4. Fix your building’s potential weaknesses. Reinforce any potential weaknesses in your house or building. Be sure to consult a professional.
5. During an earthquake, stop and protect your head. If at work, find cover under a desk; if you are in bed, cover up with a pillow; if outside, find clear safe zone; if driving pull over and stay in the car.
6. Check for injuries and damage. If a person is bleeding or has minor wounds, use clean cloth or gauze to stop bleeding, but do not move seriously injured people. Shut off power to main circuit breaker, shut off the main gas valve, and cover hazardous waste with dirt or cat litter.
7. Follow your disaster plan.
ESP warns residents to be safe and drop, cover and hold on. For more information about earthquake preparedness, visit www.earthquakecountry.info or www.espfocus.org.