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Earthquakes are No Laughing Matter, but People keep Joking


• What do cows produce in an earthquake? A milkshake!
• What did the ground say to the earthquake? You crack me up!
• What’s the status of a nuclear reactor after an earthquake? Not cool.
• What is an earthquake’s favorite song? “Shake, Rattle and Roll!”
• What do people say when a building collapses in San Francisco? “It’s San Andreas’ Fault!”

Jokes like those have been around since the San Francisco earthquake killed more than 3,000 people on April 16, 1906 — or perhaps even since 1769, when the California’s first earthquake was recorded by the expedition led by Gaspar de Portola, governor of the Spanish colonial province. But earthquakes are no laughing matter.
California experiences more quakes than in any other state. Yet many Californians don’t feel at risk unless they live near the state’s well-known San Andreas Fault or the Hayward Fault.

That misconception gives millions of Californians a false sense of security. The truth is most people in California live within 20 miles of a major fault. Earthquakes affecting people and property can occur at any time, anywhere.

Southern California alone has about 10,000 earthquakes a year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Most are too small to be felt. Hundreds are greater than magnitude 3.0, and about 20 a year are greater than magnitude 4.0. A big earthquake and its aftershock can produce more earthquakes of all magnitudes for months.
That’s why authorities in California are taking steps to ensure that citizens are educated and prepared for any earthquake disaster. April is “California Earthquake Preparedness Month.” Municipal agencies, schools and businesses are conducting readiness seminars, earthquake drills and other activities for “California Earthquake Preparedness Month.”
The state’s most recent big earthquake – 6.0 in magnitude — occurred in the Napa Valley of northern California on August 24, 2014, just eight months ago. It injured hundreds of people, wrecked homes and commercial property, disabled utility power for tens of thousands of residents and, overall, impacted more than 175,000 people. The estimated economic loss: More than $1 billion, according to the USGS.

Major earthquakes with magnitudes between 6.3 and 8.3 have occurred in California every 5.4 years on average for the last 200 years. Where will the next one strike? Nobody knows.

That’s why the American Red Cross and other agencies advise Californians and people in any at-risk earthquake zone, such as Missouri, Alaska, Nevada and Washington, to prepare with these precautions:

  • Keep an earthquake survival kit in your home, car and place of work with food, portable lights, emergency radio, packaged food, water and medical supplies.
  • Brace bookshelves and filing cabinets at work and home against the wall.
  • Be aware of fire evacuation and earthquake plans for all buildings you occupy regularly.
  • Pick safe places in your home, workplace or school, such as under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you. Avoid basements.
  • Practice “drop, cover and hold” to protect yourself. Kids and seniors should do the same.
  • If you don’t have something sturdy to hold on to, sit on the floor next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.
  • Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench for that purpose.
  • If you are in bed during an earthquake, stay there. Curl up and hold on. Protect your head with a pillow.
  • Stay away from windows to avoid being injured by shattered glass.
  • Stay indoors until the shaking stops and it is safe to exit.
  • Use stairs rather than an elevator in case there are aftershocks, power outages or other damage.
  • If you are outside when the earth starts shaking:
  • Drop to the ground. Stay put until the shaking stops — away from buildings, power lines, trees and streetlights.
  • If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines. Stay inside with your seatbelt on until the shaking stops. Then, drive carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.
  • If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
  • If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes!


Brian Houser of Quake Kare Points out, ““A recent earthquake in La Habra in Los Angeles County measured a magnitude of 5.1 and caused more than 100 aftershocks that were felt for days.
“California is a leader in disaster response and recovery capabilities, but firemen, police and other first responders can’t do everything by themselves to help ensure public safety in an earthquake or other emergency.
“Every citizen, every business and every organization needs to take steps to be prepared when disaster hits and not just for earthquakes but for floods, tornadoes and potential acts of terrorism,” Houser says.
“In today’s world, we must be prepared for any unexpected disaster. No matter where we live, there’s potential for catastrophe, whether natural or manmade. The best advice is to prepare yourself and your family with the best tools and precautionary procedures to stay as safe as possible.
“Have a survival kit, make a plan and stay informed. Being prepared can save your life!”

For tips on building your own earthquake survival kit, visit  http://www.quakekare.com/earthquake.html

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Back to School Emergency Preparedness

does each classroom have an emergency kit

A school emergency doesn’t have to be a terrorist attack. It can be the flu spreading like wildfire through the school, it can be a tornado drill or it can be a bad ice storm that knocks out power. But no matter what kind of emergency strikes your child’s school, they should have an emergency plan.

Does your child’s school have an emergency plan in place? Have you asked? If not, find out if the school has a crisis team. You may be able to volunteer to help establish one if there isn’t one already in place.

A school crisis team should be responsible for teaching staff how to handle various disaster situations including:

  • Natural disasters
  • Severe weather
  • Fires
  • Chemical or hazardous material spills
  • Bus crashes
  • School shootings
  • Bomb threats
  • Medical emergencies
  • Student or staff deaths (suicide, homicide,
  • unintentional, or natural)
  • Acts of terror or war
  • Outbreaks of disease or infections

According to the Department of Education, each event can be handled by breaking it down into the following sequence of crisis management.

1. Mitigation/Prevention addresses what schools and districts can do to reduce or eliminate risk to life and property.

2. Preparedness focuses on the process of planning for the worst-case scenario.

3. Response is devoted to the steps to take during a crisis.

4. Recovery deals with how to restore the learning and teaching environment after a crisis.

While you may not be involved in the actual crisis management planning, it is good to ask about these things for your own peace of mind. Find out how the school will handle various situations and how parents will be notified of disasters. Also make sure each classroom has a disaster kit and each teacher knows how to use it.

photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc

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Teaching Kids About Earthquakes

earthquakes for kids

If you are looking for fun, engaging ways to help your kids learn about earthquakes, look no further than the US Geological Survey (USGS). USGS offers lots of activities and information for kids of all ages.

Have some fun with puzzles and games or learn fascinating earthquake facts. Check out the science of earthquake and even get ideas for your school’s science fair.

If you homeschool, you’ll find tons of resources for your curriculum. You can even create a unit study with enough material to teach multiple ages.

Ready to find out more? Check out USGS Earthquakes for Kids page and turn your child into an earthquake expert. Then let them help go through your emergency earthquake kit so they understand how to be prepared when an earthquake strikes.

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Do You See the Storm Coming?


If you saw a tornado headed toward you, would you ignore it or would you take cover?

If you were told a severe hurricane was going to hit, would you take precautions to protect your family and property, or would you just go about your day?

Sadly, we don’t always get warnings about impending disasters until it is too late. Shouldn’t you prepare now, just in case you don’t get that critical early warning?

Have a kit for you and for any pets you may have. get a first aid kit and be ready. Just in case.

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Options for Emergency Lights

emergency flashlight


No home should be without at least one emergency light, and ideally and emergency radio.

A solar/hand crank emergency radio with an LED light built in is perfect. If the power goes out in a disaster, you will be glad you can get emergency updates and see to get around.

But why is it so important to have an LED light? Isn’t a regular flashlight good enough? While it is a good idea to have regular flashlights, you should not rely on them alone. An LED light has many advantages over a regular flashlight.

LED lights are extremely efficient and they last a very long time, which is perfect if there is an emergency. You don’t have to worry that your light may not work. LED lights do not have bulbs with filaments, so there is no worry about replacing broken lightbulbs. As long as your battery works, you’ll have light.

Our emergency LED lights/radios have LiPo batteries, so a dead battery is nothing to worry about either. LiPo stands for lithium-ion polymer. These batteries are long lasting and rechargeable.

The combination of an LED light with a LiPo battery in a hand crank/solar radio is perfect whether you want it for emergency disaster use, or to keep in your car or boat. Whatever use you have for it, it will always be ready when you need it.

Our Solar/Hand Crank Flashlight with AM/FM and Weather Band Radio is also able to charge your cell phone with a car charger or USB port.

As a secondary light, consider the Solar/Handcrank Flashlight with AM/FM Radio. While it doesn’t have Weather Band, it does have a flashing strobe light for emergency signaling as well as a siren. Both lights together will provide your family with light and security in an emergency.

You should also have an emergency light in your vehicle, as well as in your pack if you spend any time in the wilderness, to signal for help. The Emergency Strobe Light is perfect for this.

It is important to have various light sources in an emergency situation. An emergency candle will provide light and warmth. Just be sure it is always supervised to reduce the risk of fire. Emergency candles are also good for camping.

What kind of emergency lights do you have?

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