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Preparing for an Earthquake

Why Prepare?

Wherever you live, disaster can strike without warning. Planning and preparation can greatly reduce the impacts disasters (and other lesser emergencies) can have on our lives. Throughout the world, people have plans and prepare for hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, flooding, wildfires, and other emergencies. California is prone to many kinds of emergencies, including landslides, flooding, wildfires, power outages and earthquakes.

Cabrillo College is located near the San Andreas earthquake fault. The College is also in the danger zone for several other known faults that the U.S. Geological Survey is quite concerned about. Seismological experts agree that a major earthquake on the Hayward, Calaveras or Rogers Faults is likely to occur within the next 20 years. As with any disaster, emergency resources will be overwhelmed and the campus community must be prepared to be self-sufficient until outside help arrives, perhaps for up to 10 days. Each individual should prepare his/her family, home, and workplace for this eventuality. There are several reference planning guides, which you may find helpful, including the USGS pamphlet entitled "Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country".

What Can You Do?

  • Become actively involved in preparedness (planning and mitigation).
  • Look around the areas where you spend the most time (office, bedroom, etc.) and re-arrange your space to make it safer.
  • Take personal responsibility for your own survival.
  • Acquire skills like disaster First Aid, CPR, search and rescue, or shelter management. Take C.E.R.T. training offer by the college or in your community.
  • Prepare now for a sudden emergency. It could save your life and the lives of others.
  • Have a plan - know what to do before, during, and after an emergency.

Preparedness on Campus

We depend on well-informed staff and students to take steps to increase their safety and protect their belongings. Since you live in earthquake country, you will want to learn about the campus emergency plan, what to do if an earthquake happens, and how to keep your stuff safe in your room or apartment. That includes what's on your computer.

Before it happens

  • Reademergency information posted in buildings and published on thecollege's emergency website. Talk with your family, roommates,officemates and friends about what you will all do in an emergency.
  • Eachcampus building has a designated evacuation area. Find out where theseEmergency Assembly Areas (EAAs) are for your classroom buildings.
  • Think ahead about how you would exit your classroom or residence.
  • Locate the fire extinguishers; know how to use them.
  • Sharethis information. Make a plan for communicating with family and friendsin case of an earthquake. Long distance phone lines may work betterthan local ones.
  • Back up your computer(s) daily or weekly. Keep the disks at a separate location.

Make your Living and Work Area Safer

  • Be sure that mirrors, framed pictures, glass items or other heavy objects aren't hanging over your bed or your desk.
  • Tall bookshelves and cabinets could fall on you or block your exit. Brace and bolt such furniture to prevent its toppling.
  • If it's not possible to secure furniture, rearrange it to reduce danger.
  • Do not stack bookcases or file cabinets.
  • Don't use unsecured shelves made out of bricks, cement blocks and boards.
  • Kitchen cabinet contents can be dangerous; keep the doors latched.
  • Anchor stereo equipment, TVs, and computers with earthquake fasteners.

Put together an Emergency Kit

  • First aid supplies are very important. Have a good supply and know how to administer first aid.
  • Aflashlight with extra batteries will be useful if the electricity goesout. Consider a headlamp like the kind backpackers use. This will keepyour hands free.
  • Have a small portable radio, with the right batteries.
  • Keep extras of such personal supplies as glasses, contact lenses, and prescription medications.
  • Include a pair of sturdy shoes, comfortable but durable clothing, a jacket or sweater, and a blanket or sleeping bag.
  • There may not be running water for a time after a quake; store a couple gallons of water.
  • Keep your kit under your bed or in a closet you can get to easily. Consider having a kit in your car as well.
  • Check the "links" section in the college's emergency website for more information.

Staff and Students with Disabilities

  • Know how to take cover in a quake. Arrange your living space so that nothing can fall on you or block your exit.
  • Make a list of the special equipment and medications you need. Keep it with you.
  • Arrange to have "buddies" help you in an emergency.
  • Call for help using a whistle, flashlight, or other alarm.
  • Know where to get electrical power for wheelchairs or other devices.
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