Certain geographic areas seem to be susceptible to certain types of disaster. If you live in Florida, you should be ready to live through hurricanes (I speak from personal experience). If you live in Kansas, you should be prepared to deal with the occasional tornado. If you live in North Dakota or Alaska, you should learn how to live in very cold weather. Now, another part of the country needs to get ready for a disaster, according to an expert on the subject:
California needs to get ready for an earthquake.
I know that this may not seem like big news to you, but realize that this information comes from Thomas Jordan, the director of the Southern California Earthquake Center. Also, think about the fact that there are earthquakes and there are earthquakes. California deals with tremors all of the time. That’s not what I’m talking about. What I am talking about is a big earthquake, the really scary type. The L.A. Times reported:
“‘The springs on the San Andreas system have been wound very, very tight. And the southern San Andreas fault, in particular, looks like it’s locked, loaded and ready to go,’ Jordan said in the opening keynote talk.
“Other sections of the San Andreas fault also are far overdue for a big quake. Further southeast of the Cajon Pass, such as in San Bernardino County, the fault has not moved substantially since an earthquake in 1812, and further southeast toward the Salton Sea, it has been relatively quiet since about 1680 to 1690.
“Here’s the problem: Scientists have observed that based on the movement of tectonic plates, with the Pacific plate moving northwest of the North American plate, earthquakes should be relieving about 16 feet of accumulated plate movement every 100 years. Yet the San Andreas has not relieved stress that has been building up for more than a century.” (Hat tip to here for the source.)
To give perspective about how bad this type of situation would be, the L.A. Times also noted:
“A 2008 U.S. Geological Survey report warned that a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the southern San Andreas fault would cause more than 1,800 deaths, 50,000 injuries, $200 billion in damage and severe, long-lasting disruptions. Among the predicted problems: The sewer system could be out of commission for six months.”
I’ve been through a situation where basic utilities like water were disrupted for a month. It was not a fun situation, and I don’t recommend dealing with that, if you can help it, but consider if the sewage system for major cities were disrupted. The spread of waste and sickness could become overwhelming overnight.
And there are a number of major cities not far from the San Andreas fault.
Frankly, the best thing that can be done to prepare for this situation is to get away from the San Andreas fault. Move. Make plans to live somewhere else. The second best thing is to realize an earthquake is likely to happen. You need to have food, water, sanitation supplies, and a way to provide power (if you don’t plan on going without air conditioning or your smartphone).
You will also want a plan to deal with a longer-term sanitation issue. Learn about out houses and build one now. You don’t have to use it now (I wouldn’t until I had to. I find the sewage system useful), but be prepared to use it if you need to.
How would you prepare for a devastating earthquake situation? Tell us below.