We're facing record heat, wildfires, smoke, and a pandemic, but today is a good day to remember the threat of earthquakes, and how we can prepare.
Today is the 31th anniversary of California's deadly Loma Prieta earthquake, which serves as a reminder of our vulnerability to another natural disaster.
U.S. Geological Survey scientists predict there is a 63% chance of a deadly 6.7 magnitude
earthquake (about the strength of the 1989 Loma Prieta quake) in the Bay Area within the next 30 years.
We've also learned that earthquake preparedness can prevent injuries, and save lives and property damage. There are many excellent sources of information on how to prepare; I've listed a few below.
Some key things:
Have an emergency kit on hand. (Also good for wildfire preparation, for those in high risk zones.)
Here's a short list of essential items for your kit, which should last you for at least 7 days:
- Battery powered or hand cranked radio
- Non-perishable food
- Emergency contact list
- Pet food and supplies
Secure tall furniture, like bookcases, china cabinets, and hutches to walls.
Often, home gas lines rupture during a major earthquake and cause fires. I'm proud to have sponsored an ordinance in Contra Costa
that requires the installation of an automatic gas shut-off valve in new construction, major home remodels and at the time of sale of your home. I have one on my house. Consider one for yours.
For additional information about disaster preparedness, here are some helpful links:
Our local cities also provide great emergency response training (CERT) to residents for free. Check with your city for further information.
Sign up for a new earthquake early warning app
I'd also like to encourage you to sign up for a new earthquake warning app, developed by the UC Berkeley Seismology Lab.
provides you with statewide earthquake early warning alerts. Whereas other apps provide just safety information and maps, what differentiates this app is the ability to potentially predict an earthquake a few seconds in advance.
The word "potentially" is used because the final goal is to accurately predict earthquakes many seconds in advance by leveraging cell phone data.
MyShake technology is still being developed. One of the main challenges is it needs lots of data to make it operational. Signing up now helps develop the system.
You can become a "citizen scientist" by providing your data to further the mission!