This week marks the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck central Nepal. The 7.8 magnitude quake killed 8,891 people, injured more than 22,000, and left hundreds of thousands homeless.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department, which deployed rescue personnel as part of the USA’s Disaster Assistance Response Team, is using the anniversary to remind the public about being prepared for such a catastrophe. Major earthquakes have occurred in Southern California causing damage to the County in 1933, 1971, 1987 and 1994. A recent scientific report estimates an 86 percent probability of a magnitude 7.0 or greater earthquake hitting Southern California during the next 30 years.
Here are steps every person or family can take to be ready in case of a major emergency:
Have A Plan. Learn of the threats in your area. Identify meeting places outside your home or neighborhood. Know exits and alternate ways to leave your home. Have an out-of-state contact.
Prepare Supplies. Have an emergency kit that includes a change of clothes, nonperishable food, personal hygiene items (toothbrush, soap, deodorant, etc.), baby items, cash/credit cards, family photos, special needs items (medication, canes, hearing aids, etc.), pet care items, medical information.
Prepare At Work. Identify potential hazards, prepare a disaster and continuity plan, store supplies, identify ways to limit potential building damage.
Prepare Emergency Water. Purchase commercially bottled water and keep it in its original container. Do not open until needed. Stay aware of the expiration of “use by” date.
Learn the location of your gas meter and how to shut off the supply valve. Do not shut off the valve unless you smell gas or hear it leaking. Also know where your electrical switch box or fuse box is, and how to shut it off.
Know where your water shutoff valve is located. Check with your water company to determine if a special tool is needed to turn the valve.
For more information visit the Los Angeles County Emergency Survival Guide at the website http://lacoa.org/pdf/emergencysurvivalguide-lowres.pdf.