[quoteAs far as being prepared? How do you plan on something so spuratic?
You plan by being prepared. And then, knowing you live in EQ country, you forget about it until it happens. I've slept through more 4 pointers than
most people will ever experience. LOL. While I missed the '06 quake, I've experienced several 6+'s in my life, several very close to the
epicenter ('72 and '94)
Here's what I've learned...
1. Be prepared to live completely ON YOUR OWN for at least 72 hours, if not a full week. Don't forget your furry friends' needs, and if you have
elderly neighbors, make sure they're covered, as well.
2. Have a wrench handy and know how to turn off your house gas line. Most of the structures lost post quake are due to fires. Know how to protect
yourself from that possibility.
3. Have a "GOOD" bag in both your car and in a safe place in your home. A GOOD bag is a "get out of Dodge" bag, and should contain essentials for
your survival (clean clothes, blankets, food, water, water purifier perhaps, flashlights and batteries, local area maps, and medical kit). Don't put
the kit in your trunk - if your car is smashed, it will be easier generally to retrieve your GOOD bag from the passenger section as that is generally
more reinforced than the trunk. In the home, have it stored somewhere you're pretty sure will survive a good shake - a closet, under a strong table,
4. Be very aware of broken items, such as glass and china, and don't walk around barefoot (my fridge kamikazied into the sink, shattering both sink
and fridge...and spewing glass and pottery all over kingdom come...shoes were very welcome).
5. Have a battery operated radio. Know the emergency station for your area, and tune in to that immediately. If there is a major issue (dam break,
huge fire), it will be broadcast, and you will be given directions on what to do.
6. Have an emergency plan to call someone out of state; make sure your family has the ICE number (In Case of Emergency) and know that you will be
checking in there. Realize that many people will be trying to use the phone, and the lines will get tied up. If you have to leave your place, put an
out going message on your machine to let people know you're all right, and will be calling.
7. Be very aware of aftershocks. They can be as strong - and in rare cases stonger - than the initial shock. And often, additional structural damage
will occur after the initial shock, and a series of solid aftershocks will bring down a structure.
8. If you are sitting when the quake strikes, don't move unless the quake actually moves you or if you're in the path of objects falling (i.e.
bookcases, mirrors, et cetera. In 94, I was thrown out of bed - I woke in midair. That's what I mean by "moving you"...)*. If it does, get into an
interior doorway (that doesn't have a door attached to it!!!) such as a hallway entrance, or get under a strong, sturdy table (such as a dining
table). Wait until the shaking stops, and then give it a few more seconds. Aftershocks often occur within moments of the original quake, and can do
equal amounts of damage. DO NOT GO OUTSIDE unless necessary. Even though that's our instinct, things tend to fall and we don't always look up;
power lines, second story windows, chimneys all can kill you but can't if you're not within their reach. If you are already outside walking, get
into an entrance of a structure. Stay put. If you are driving, try to get to the side of the road when it's clear, and be very cautious of stopping
under an overpass, mountain road, or while on a bridge. STAY IN YOUR CAR.
There are many different kinds of earthquakes; the '06 and '72 were slip thrust faults, which means the movement was side to side. Hold your hands
together, and thumbs next to each other, and slide one forward and the other one backward. This is a representation of what a slip fault will do.
It's movements are waves, side to side, undulating. It will feel like a rolling motion (unless you're right at the epicenter) similar to a boat on
rough seas. These are not nearly as destructive as a thrust fault.
A thrust fault is what happened in '94. Take your hands, place them palm to palm, and then move one up and the other down. The resultant action is
a bouncing, far more like a rubber ball being dribbled or tossed than a wave. These are inherently more destructive because the motion displaces
up/down rather than side to side, and the compression will weaken things much faster than waving. Thankfully, the San Andreas is a slip fault rather
than a thrust fault...but the danger is still there, no matter what sort of quake it is.
In no way is this intended to do anything other than give my opinion and experience, but I hope it helps some folks be a bit more prepared. It is
going to happen, and if you are aware, prepared, and know a little bit about what's happening, you should survive it without too much problem.
*Obviously, if the building is coming down, get out.