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By Henrietta J. Burroughs     Follow East Palo Alto Today on
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March 14, 2014                           
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Photo of March 9, 2014 CA earthquake location
       Photo courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey(USGS)
To see map and activate links go to http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/nc72182046#summary



A 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck along the coast of northern California on Monday, March 10. The epicenter of the quake was located 48 miles northwest of Ferndale, CA and 50 miles west of Eureka. The quake was followed by more than 19 aftershocks that were widely felt along the coast of northern California, southern Oregon and in the city of Eureka.

Geologists say the quake occurred 80 miles off the coast of Eureka within the Juan de Fuca plate (or Gorda subplate) which runs beneath northern California, Oregon and Washington.

Fortunately, this latest earthquake caused no reported injuries or serious damage. For at least one local official, who works in the field of emergency preparedness, the quake serves as a reminder that we all need to be prepared for the next natural disaster, especially, the next earthquake.

In speaking about Monday's earthquake, Mark Cloutier, regional chief executive officer of the American Red Cross, said,  “It is not a matter of if but a matter of when the next major earthquake will happen. With U.S. Geological Survey saying there is 99% likelihood of a major earthquake in the Bay Area in the next 30 years, last night’s earthquake is a reminder for each of us to anticipate, and plan for, what is needed to survive a major earthquake.”

Disaster experts say that there are some easy things the public can do to prepare for the next natural disaster.

For example, the Red Cross recommends that individuals and families obtain or assemble an emergency preparedness kit, and if one already has a kit, then it might be time to update it.

What should an emergency kit contain?

Red Cross officials recommend that  a portable kit should be stored in a sturdy, easy to carry, water resistant container with enough supplies for three days. Perishable supplies should be replaced every six months. A three-day kit should include:

A first aid kit and essential medications.     
Canned food and can opener.
At least three gallons of water per person.
Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
Written instructions for how to turn off gas, electricity, and water if authorities advise to do so. Wait for a professional to turn natural gas service back on.

It is also recommended that essentials, such as a flashlight and sturdy shoes, be kept by the bedside.

For more emergency preparedness tips, see agency websites like the American Red Cross’ at http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/earthquake and city websites, which list local emergency phone numbers and services, like the one offered by the City of East Palo Alto at http://www.ci.east-palo-alto.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=115.

The author of this article, Henrietta J. Burroughs, can be reached by email at epatoday@epatoday.org.