The Earthquakes’ Call to Action

The two 3.9 magnitude earthquakes that occurred last week along the Hayward Fault are not unexpected according to geologists and seismologist, but alarming to the majority of us who felt both earthquakes. Thankfully, they did not cause notable damage. Turkey, however, was not as lucky. Sunday’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake destroyed buildings and hundreds have lost their lives. Like us, Turkey is highly susceptible toearthquakes as it sits on major geological fault lines.

Watching the television footage is disturbing to say the least; seeing a toddler being pulled from rubble took me to a dark place as I couldn’t help but think of my own little one and prayed that if we were to experience a similarly significant earthquake, I would be able to protect him. Instead of feeling helpless (or begin planning a move to the east coast), I was inspired to research strapping our television. I immediately felt better.

Thankfully we live in a city with building codes that are lot more strict than in Turkey. The terrifying scenes we are seeing in the news probably won’t happen here, but they did in Japan last March—and that’s a culture very prepared and equipped to handle earthquakes (if they weren’t, the death toll would have been far greater). The good news is a lot can be done to prevent the damage of an earthquake. Mitigation is the mantra of many emergency managers and they are right. The word mitigation sounds daunting but it’s a lot easier than you may think (e.g., it doesn’t mean living on a house boat or packing up and heading east).

What can you do? Here are a few immediate actions:

• Visit and assess your current supplies

• Register for San Francisco’s text-based notification system: AlertSF (go to

• Look into becoming a trained member of San Francisco NERT

• Follow DEM on twitter: @sf_emergency and become a fan of SFDEM on Facebook

• Download DEM’s new preparedness smart phone app SF Heroes (currently for iPhone and soon to be available on Droid this spring)

• Practice drop, cover and hold, which is the safest thing to do during an earthquake (Special Note: it’s still ShakeOut season and you can conduct your own drop, cover and hold on drill within the next two weeks and be counted; go to

• Learn how to prevent earthquake ‘messes’ by playing this game:

Just DO something. We were lucky last week; Turkey was not as fortunate. Let’s take last week’s earthquakes as a call to action. You’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing you have done something to help you and your family be ready for an earthquake, or any emergency—big or small. And remember, it is a lot easier and cheaper to strap a TV than to clean up and replace a shattered one.


About sfdemkristin

A strong believer that we are more prepared than we think, Kristin advocates it is not a looming disaster that inspires us to prepare, but rather the peace of mind that comes from having taken a few simple steps in advance of an emergency to take care of our loved ones. Kristin can be found on Twitter @kristinlhogan.

Posted on October 24, 2011, in Disasters, Resilience, SF Heroes, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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