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Disaster Preparedness News

Strongest Quake in Over 15 Years Rattles Homes and Nerves in Bay Area

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck just north of San Jose shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday, October 30th. Scientists called the quake "moderate", but while areas as far away as Oregon felt the shaking, many residents in the Bay Area were caught off guard by what many are calling a significant reminder that California is a hotbed of constant geological activity. While no major injuries or damages were reported, the quake showed how even a small temblor can send people fleeing in a state of panic. Local businesses, quiet on a Tuesday evening, reported that customers fled in fear, clogging exits as they were told to evacuate the buildings in which they had been shopping just seconds earlier.

While the shaker didn't cause significant damage, it did highlight some serious issues that arise even after minor earthquakes. Residents have been told repeatedly to prepare for such disasters by always being ready with a proper set of earthquake supplies or a carefully stocked earthquake kit, but other problems still arose that required the aid of emergency responders and local trained professionals. Firefighters in San Jose said they received dozens of calls from people dealing with flooding from broken pipes or complaining of the smell of natural gas from possibly broken or leaking gas lines. Calls for medical assistance jumped as well and even some local telephone service was disrupted ( While some felt the experience to be quite frightening, many thought back to the last real quake to hit the area, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. This quake devastated parts of San Francisco, killed dozens, and injured thousands. The disaster, which struck before game three of the 1989 World Series between San Francisco and Oakland, was the first ever to be broadcast on live television, bringing the tragedy home to millions of people across the country (

Thankfully the results weren't the same this time, but the quake did remind many, including area scientists, that the "Big One" could occur at any time. Even a minor temblor like this one showed how unprepared people are to deal with an earthquake. Residents who have lived in the area for years should know how important it is to be ready for earthquakes. A properly stocked earthquake kit could mean the difference between life and death. The Loma Prieta quake demonstrated that some of the hardest hit pieces of infrastructure in an earthquake are bridges and freeways, many of which collapsed and left commuters stranded or injured. Life saving items like a car survival kit can always be with you, no matter where you are. One can't stress enough the value and importance of quality earthquake supplies. In an emergency, items like these can make all the difference in the world.

By Jon Stoll
QuakeKare Press
Nov. 28th 2007

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