6.5 jolt a reminder to be quake prepared

We have a suggestion for a New Year’s Resolution for all South
Valley residents in the wake of the 6.5-magnitude earthquake that
hit Central California, killing two women in Paso Robles: Make sure
your family is earthquake ready.
We have a suggestion for a New Year’s Resolution for all South Valley residents in the wake of the 6.5-magnitude earthquake that hit Central California, killing two women in Paso Robles: Make sure your family is earthquake ready.

South Valley was lucky this time – the earthquake didn’t damage our homes, businesses, or downtowns. It didn’t injure or kill any of our neighbors, friends, coworkers or relatives.

But we don’t know when the next a temblor will devastate Gilroy, Morgan Hill or San Martin, so let’s all work now to make sure we’re as prepared as possible.

Here’s a chance to review safety and preparedness tips from the experts and make sure your plans and knowledge meet their recommendations.

Before an earthquake:

• Have enough food and water for three days. If you’ve already got a supply of food and water set aside, check it for freshness. Plan to have one gallon of water per person per day. Be sure to include a non-electric can opener.

• Have a first-aid kit stocked and ready, and also have a two-week supply of essential medications on hand for those who need them. If you wear contact lenses, include contact lens solution.

• Keep a flashlight, battery-operated radio and extra batteries handy.

• Fasten large appliances, bookcases, pictures and other heavy objects to the wall.

• Secure loose items including computers, televisions and other furnishings that may fall off tables during an earthquake.

• Strap your hot water heater to a wall using metal straps or braces. California law requires that hot water heaters be secured to a wall.

• Make sure there is a working fire extinguisher in the home and that everyone knows how to use it.

• Keep written instructions on how to turn off gas, electricity and water. Practice turning off the electricity and water, but do not practice turning off the gas.

• Keep a supply of cash and change in case ATM machines and credit cards are temporarily unusable.

• Other suggested items for earthquake kits are nearly endless and include hygiene products, sleeping bags and tents, extra eyeglasses and house keys, trash bags, tarps, rain ponchos, camp stoves, tools, duct tape and more.

• Finally, consider taking disaster preparedness training. In south Santa Clara County, the South County Neighborhood Disaster Preparedness Project conducts free training twice a year to help residents be better prepared in the event of a disaster, such as a major earthquake.

For more information on upcoming training sessions, visit www.garlic.com/~scndpp on the Internet. In addition, The city of Gilroy sponsors emergency preparedness classes periodically. Call the Gilroy Fire Department at 846-0372 for more information.

During an earthquake:

• Duck down low to the ground

• Take cover under a large piece of furniture such as a sturdy desk, or if unavailable, against an interior wall. Avoid windows, hanging objects, mirrors or tall furniture. Protect your neck and head with your arms.

• Hold your position until the earthquake ends and it is safe to move from your spot. If you’ve taken cover under a piece of furniture, hold onto it and move with it.

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit The American Red Cross at www.redcross.org, the California Office of Emergency Services at www.oes.ca.gov, the Federal Emergency Management Agency at www.fema.gov, and PG&E www.pge.com/safety.

Let’s let there be at least one silver lining in the tragic, fatal quake that struck Paso Robles: Let’s become better prepared for when the next quake strikes South Valley.

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