How to Prepare for the Next Big Earthquake in Los Angeles

Posted by Ben Nicolas on Friday, October 16th, 2020 at 12:00pm.

Every region of the country has its own natural disasters to worry about like tornados and hurricanes, and of course, for California, we have earthquakes and wildfires. While they all can be equally destructive, most forces of nature can be predicted somewhat in advance... except earthquakes. There's no warning on the local weather forecast giving residents time to evacuate or prepare their homes.

In recent years, though, science and technology have advanced enough to create the MyShake smartphone app that gives Los Angelenos a few seconds to brace themselves before the ground starts to rumble. Ground motion sensors placed throughout the state can detect that an earthquake has begun before humans can feel any shaking. For earthquakes at a 4.5 magnitude or higher, an alert is sent out to those with the app. It's not enough warning to grab your go-bag and speed out of town, but you might have time to get under your kitchen table. 

On October 15th was The Great California ShakeOut, where the warning system sent out a test alert to everyone with the app. Besides testing the efficacy of the app, the day is also meant to be a reminder of how important it is to prepare your home and family for the "Big One" that we've been promised will occur someday soon. What can you do today to prepare for a future earthquake?

Make an Earthquake Kit

Gathering supplies like canned goods, gallons of water, and first aid supplies might seem overwhelming, but you don't have to get everything at once and you don't have to get so much that your garage starts looking like a fallout shelter. Start with the essentials, and then add to your collection as you see fit:

  • Water: one gallon per person (and pet) per day. Each person should have three days worth of water.
  • Food: stock up on canned goods, freeze-dried food, power bars, etc. Keep an eye on the expiration dates so you know when to rotate items out.
  • First aid: a basic first aid kit with plenty of bandages and antiseptic. 

Of course, there are tons of other very helpful items to include like hand-crank radios and solar-powered cell phone chargers. You can download FEMA's Earthquake Safety Checklist to see everything that they recommend you have on hand. 

Make a Plan

It's extremely likely that a big earthquake will lead to a total lack of cell service, which means if your loved ones aren't with you when it happens, you won't have an easy way to communicate with them. Make a plan to find each other by designating two meeting spots: one nearby your home in the event that you have to leave (due to a fire, for example), and one outside your neighborhood in case that entire area is inaccessible. 

Prepare Your Neighborhood

During natural disasters, communities have to come together to help fellow residents because your access to first responders will be limited as they tend to the worst, most pressing emergencies. To do your part, you can sign up for a Ready Your LA Neighborhood workshop where you'll learn how to organize your neighborhood response plan. 

The prospect of the Big One hitting LA is scary, especially in the midst of the pandemic. Though thinking about this kind of disaster is unpleasant, you'll find that once you know that you're prepared, you'll feel a lot less worry.

Are you thinking of moving to a new LA neighborhood? Email us or gives us a call at (323) 412-9060 and we can get to work looking for your new home.

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