A cracked road following an earthquake in Trona, Calif., on Saturday, July 6, 2019. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake rattled Southern California on Friday night, one day after the strongest recorded quake there in 20 years struck - and seismologists warned that further episodes are expected. (Jenna Schoenefeld/The New York Times)
Photo: JENNA SCHOENEFELD
Photo: JENNA SCHOENEFELD

Earthquake safety tips offered as fear of ‘Big One’ escalates

By now you’ve likely heard the news about two large earthquakes that rattled southern California late last week: one a magnitude 6.4 on July 4, and a 7.1 the following day.

The USGS (United States Geological Survey) warns another quake of similar magnitude may happen again within weeks. This has many wondering if the “Big One” is not too far off.

In case you were wondering what the “Big One” means, that refers to a catastrophic quake along the San Andreas Fault geologist claim is overdue.

The San Andreas Fault is an 800-mile sliding boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate. The fault line runs through a number of populated locations within California, including Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

The San Andreas Fault is considered a transform fault. That’s where two plates slide past one another and at times may get stuck. The build-up of tension and friction is eventually released in the form of an earthquake.

The USGS continues to warn that there is a 70% probability that a major earthquake, the “Big One”, capable of causing widespread damage will strike the San Francisco Bay region before the year 2030.

The last major quake to occur along the fault line was in 1906, a magnitude 7.9 in San Francisco killing up to 3,000 people and causing 80% of the city to be destroyed. This event is known to be one of the worst and deadliest earthquakes in U.S. history.

Because there’s no predicted time or place as to where the “Big One” will strike, geologists, emphasize the urgency for all communities in the region to continue preparing for earthquakes.

So what should you do if you find yourself in the middle of an earthquake?

If you’re inside a building:

— DROP, COVER and HOLD ON!

— Move as little as possible - most injuries during earthquakes occur because of people moving around, falling and suffering sprains, fractures and head injuries.

— Try to protect your head and torso.

— If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on, and cover your head.

— Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit.

— If you smell gas, get out of the house and move as far away as possible.

— Before you leave any building, check to make sure that there is no debris from the building that could fall on you.

If you’re outside:

— Find a clear spot and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops.

— Try to get as far away from buildings, power lines, trees, and streetlights as possible.

— If you’re in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible.

— Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops.

— After the shaking has stopped, drive on carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.

— If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.

— If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris as well as landslides.

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