Should This Part of California Be Worried About Quakes?

Russ Brown, public information officer for Yuba County, said that while earthquakes are not one of the top natural disaster concerns for this area, the county has plans in place should the area be affected by one.

by Lynzie Lowe, Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif. / October 18, 2019
AP

(TNS) - This week marks 30 years since the massive 6.9 magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake hit the Bay Area, killing 63 people, injuring nearly 4,000 and causing extensive damage that left thousands homeless.

Generally, people in this part of the state are not too concerned about quakes. Should they be?

Earthquakes, big and small, are a common occurrence in California. Residents hear reports of them all the time – most recently the 4.5 magnitude quake that hit near Pleasant Grove on Monday. The reports are usually just far enough away from the Yuba-Sutter area that residents tend to think things like that won’t happen here.

But we’re in an area surrounded by active fault lines.

According to archives, there have been two historical earthquakes in the region. In 1892, a magnitude 6 earthquake shook the town of Winter, west of Sacramento, and in 1975 Oroville was stuck by a 5.7 magnitude earthquake, both occurring on well-known fault lines located along the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and the foothills of the coastal range.

Russ Brown, public information officer for Yuba County, said that while earthquakes are not one of the top natural disaster concerns for this area, the county has plans in place should the area be affected by one.

“Earthquakes come from everywhere,” said Brown. “They don’t come from just one direction and can create floods or fires at other locations.”

Brown said there are plans in place to guard against any kind of situation that may cause a breach or damage in local structures such as dams and bridges or any other hazards caused as a result of an earthquake.

“We are prepared to alert people and direct them to a safe location,” said Brown.

Brown said that while the county has safety plans put in place, residents need to create an emergency plan for their unique situation in the event of an emergency.

Yuba County has tips on emergency preparedness on their website, BePreparedYuba.org. They also have CodeRed available, a service that allows residents to be notified by local emergency response team in the event of emergency situations or other critical community alerts.

Brown said the service has been designed to notify residents using text messages since other forms of communication may get cut off during an emergency.

“Any signification disaster can take down lines of communication,” said Brown.

Sutter County also has an emergency management guide on their website.

According to their website, the Earthquake Country Alliance has worked with experts in earthquake science, preparedness, and mitigation to develop the seven step-by-step guide for staying safe before, during, and after an earthquake.

To prepare for an earthquake the ECA recommends people first secure personal space by identifying hazards and securing moveable items.

“You can move heavy, unsecured objects from top shelves onto lower ones. This will only take minutes to complete!” read the website.

Next, plan to stay safe by creating a disaster plan and deciding how you will communicate in an emergency.

The ECA also recommends organizing disaster supplies in convenient locations and, to minimize financial hardship, organizing important documents and reinforcing and strengthening the structural integrity of your property. They also recommend looking into insurance.

If you find yourself in an earthquake, the ECA suggests the “Drop, cover and hold on,” technique when the earth shakes.

“Taking the proper actions, such as “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” can save lives and reduce the risk of injury,” read the ECA website.

To improve safety after an earthquake, the ECA recommends evacuating if necessary, helping the injured, and preventing further injuries or damage.

The seventh and final step in the earthquake safety guide is to reconnect and restore daily life by reconnecting with others, repairing damage, and rebuilding community.

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©2019 the Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, Calif.)

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