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12.04.2014 admin
Geology expert Pat Abbott said the state needs to start long-range thinking when it comes to aqueducts and fault lines.
An earthquake warning system is one step closer to becoming a reality as a Congressional committee proposes giving the system $5 million to get up and going. A business that seeks to provide clients with several seconds of advance notice when an earthquake strikes is expanding in Southern California. San Diego State University has launched new software to improve communication for when a major earthquake hits.
Emergency experts say every person should have a 5-minute backpack filled with essential items in case of a disaster. Fast reflexes and split-second timing help in any situation but do not take the place of planning in the event of an earthquake. As you don’t know where you will be when an earthquake hits, it helps to create a safe spot in every room where you will be able to shelter, preferably under a heavy piece of furniture like a table or desk, and to follow the drop, cover and hold on adage. If you cannot shelter yourself under a heavy piece of furniture or other type of shelter when the earthquake hits, drop down to the floor, flush against an interior wall, and protect your neck and head with your arms and remain in a crouched position. Find something affixed and solid to hold onto and be prepared to have your body move as it moves. Do not seek shelter under hanging objects such as mirrors or near unanchored appliances or tall pieces of furniture. Also avoid the exterior walls of your home and stay put until the earthquake and subsequent tremors have ceased completely.
If you have a baby in another room, it is natural to want to race to them, but this could be disastrous. If you have a child in another room, call out assurances to them and instruct them to remain in a drop, cover and hold on position. If you are in bed when an earthquake hits, stay there and use your pillow to protect your head and neck, provided there is nothing nearby that could fall on you or shatter, like a window. If you are in a restaurant, store or other public place when an earthquake strikes, panic may ensue. Avoid shelving that holds objects that might go flying, as well as windows and glass doors. If you are at the theater or a sporting event, stay seated, but shrink down and cover your head and neck with your arms. Earthquakes may be an unavoidable, but there are steps you can take to mitigate damage and keep your family safe. If you find yourself away from home when an earthquake hits, these guidelines could keep you save from injury and even save your life.
If your house starts to shake, rattle and roll without warning, remain calm and follow these safety tips. Today Bay Area residents live with the realization that another big quake is in their future. One of the most obvious differences is that today, there is a seismically reinforced and modern emergency operations center. San Francisco now uses the WebEOC incident management tool for situational awareness and to help keep everyone on the same page. Earthquake response in California has benefited not just from previous quakes, but also lessons learned during other types of emergencies.


The San Francisco DEM has adopted several social media channels and continues to experiment with them during events. A report published by National Academies Press and titled Practical Lessons from the Loma Prieta Earthquake was based on the 1993 proceedings of a symposium held in San Francisco. It noted that pre-existing social problems such as homelessness, hunger and lack of health care are worsened immediately after a destructive earthquake. In fact, the aftermath of Loma Prieta led directly to the creation of an umbrella group called SF CARD (Community Agencies Responding to Disaster), which connects nonprofit, faith-based and private organizations with the network and knowledge they need to continue providing critical services after a disaster. Dudgeon noted that after Loma Prieta, government agencies began to realize that they couldn’t do everything.
The city also has a Neighborhood Emergency Response Team program of volunteers trained and supervised by the Fire Department. Another lesson from the Practical Lessons report was that organizations that had developed and tested realistic earthquake planning scenarios prior to the Loma Prieta earthquake were better prepared than those that had not. In 2013, the annual Golden Guardian exercise involved a catastrophic earthquake in the Bay Area, with the goal of exercising and assessing emergency operations plans, policies and procedures for large-scale incidents at the local, regional and state levels.
In San Francisco, a Lifelines Council is conducting an interdependencies study on infrastructure serving the city. Besides beefing up emergency response capabilities, the Bay Area is also doing a better job of understanding local earthquake hazards and addressing them before the next disaster. By the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta quake, the city and county of San Francisco had completed more than 180 seismic retrofits or total replacements of public facilities, ranging from small but critical pump stations and transmission mains to essential facilities like police and fire stations and the EOC. The city also passed legislation that requires the evaluation and retrofit for “multi-unit soft-story buildings,” which are wood-frame structures containing five or more residential units, having two or more stories over a “soft” or “weak” story, and permitted for construction prior to 1978, Otellini said. A 2013 SPUR report, called On Solid Ground, argues that good land-use planning can prepare the Bay Area for a strong disaster recovery.
No one knows how well the region will respond the next time a quake occurs, but SF CARD’s Whitlow believes the Bay Area is much more resilient today than it was in 1989. If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. For your emergency supply needs, visit Major Survival and mention 'COPE' for a 10% discount.
San Diego expert Pat Abbott gives two recent examples of the right thing and the wrong thing residents should do. Determine if your doorways are load-bearing and strong enough to protect you in advance of an earthquake occurring.
Protect your baby ahead of time by ensuring that their crib, playpen or bassinet is protected with padding and soft siding. To avoid being trampled, do not race for the exit but rather, quickly determine a safe location to drop, cover and hold on. I was just getting ready to drive home to Palo Alto, a few miles from the editorial offices of InfoWorld, a technology publication in Menlo Park, where I worked. If a major quake struck today, how would emergency management be different than it was 24 years ago?
This year’s functional exercise focused on carrying out policies, response and recovery for up to 48 hours after the earthquake hit. In response to problems experienced during the Oakland Hills fires in 1991, the California Legislature passed a law requiring a clear incident command system during emergencies.


The report recommended that community agencies develop policies to address these issues and become more involved in emergency response.
Vulnerable populations naturally turn to these organizations immediately following a disaster for housing, food and essential services.
Previously there had been less recognition of the role of community groups.  “There was definitely a reluctance to engage in the past, even 10 years ago,” he said. The Bay Area Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), a regional effort to build core capabilities to respond to terrorism and natural disasters, has increased the number of drills in the region. Today that figure would be closer to 500,000, because of the area’s increasing population density. After Loma Prieta, San Francisco launched a 10-year-long study, called the Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS), to evaluate the city’s risk from earthquakes. Purchase baby furniture that is sturdy and solid enough to remain upright and make sure cabinets are latched and no objects in the nursery or other areas can go flying.
Geological Survey estimated that there is a 63 percent probability of a magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquake in the Bay Area in the next 30 years.
There have been many lessons learned cumulatively since Loma Prieta in terms of emergency response, said Rob Dudgeon, deputy director of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (DEM), where he leads the Division of Emergency Services.
Earlier this year, Emergency Management gave readers an inside look at the new EOC during the Golden Guardian exercise in May, during which agencies worked together on practicing for the response and recovery to a simulated magnitude 7.8 earthquake.
Representatives of the agencies participating in the exercise relied on both technology as well as face-to-face communication to help each other follow protocol. The standardized emergency management system provides for a five-level emergency response organization, and is intended to structure and facilitate the flow of emergency information and resources within and between the organizational levels.
AlertSF sends alerts regarding emergencies disrupting vehicular and pedestrian traffic as well as citywide post-disaster information to registered wireless devices and email accounts. In fiscal 2011-2012, the Bay Area UASI spent approximately $3.3 million on training and exercises. Although many of the types of utility infrastructure that would be impacted by an earthquake are similar today, the resiliency and level of communication between providers is different, said Don Boland, executive director of the California Utilities Emergency Association. In late 2011, CAPSS developed into the Earthquake Safety Implementation Program, a 30-year workplan and timeline implementing the Community Action Plan. Registrants can also sign up to receive English-language automated information feeds and alerts targeted to specific areas of the city. According to UASI’s reports, the region trained about 1,200 responders (as compared to approximately 500 responders in prior years) across a range of disciplines including emergency management, emergency medical services, firefighting, law enforcement and hazardous materials response. He said the association brings together utilities to study interdependencies, expedite getting systems back up and running as quickly as possible, and prioritize what needs to be done — providing pumping stations with power before stoplights, for instance.
Bookshelves and desktops all emptied their contents into the aisles, but there were no injuries. It proved to be both a major test of area emergency management and a wake-up call about the region’s disaster preparedness efforts.



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