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Posted: 3/12/2011 9:57:02 AM EDT


Here is a link to the Fema Earthquake website



http://www.fema.gov/areyouready/earthquakes.shtm



Good for the basics, but should we get another biggun like '64 what differences do you think there will be now vs. then?



Do you think crime will be a bigger factor? For those of you that have been in big California earthquakes, will you share your learning experiences?

How should one be prepared? (chemical exposure because you live next to an industrial complex, looting because you live near highly populated areas, etc)





A little history

http://www.aeic.alaska.edu/quakes/Al...arthquake.html





I asked my mother to jot down a few memories of her experiences during the 64 quake, here is the rough draft of her account.





64 Quake





At the age of eleven I discovered that the ground under my feet was no more stable than my mother’s favorite green Jello. I don’t know why it took me so long to figure it out since I’d experienced earthquakes of varying magnitudes several times a year for as long as I’d drawn breath. Born in pre-statehood Alaska to hardy, self-sufficient, frontier parents, I dealt with climate and geological extremes with the same aplomb as those around me – until Good Friday, 1964.





On that Friday morning, after months of odd-jobs and babysitting gigs, my best friend Carol Ann and I were ready to shop for Easter dresses. Schools were closed for the holiday, and the new and modern three-story JC Penney store (with ELEVATORS!) in downtown Anchorage beckoned. Carol’s mom, Betty, agreed to drive us the ten miles, planning to pick us up again a few hours later. It was our first solo shopping trip – we were quite certain this marked our elevation to adult status.





Unfortunately, prior to the shopping adventure, we shared an entire bag of Cheetos and drank a large quantity of Dr. Pepper. After only a few minutes in the store, Carol Ann was forced to call her mom from a pay phone (a technical challenge) and confess that she’d thrown up in the ladies room and wanted to go home. We waited on the sidewalk near the 5th Avenue entrance. Betty eventually arrived, with older daughter Linda in the front passenger seat, and she was not happy. A working mother of five with many weekend chores awaiting completion, the wasted drive was for her an inconvenience and irritation. We hunkered down in the back seat of her beautiful powder blue Oldsmobile, trying to listen respectfully to the butt-chewing without giggling. Betty’s language was always colorful.





As we approached the intersection of what is now Dimond Blvd. and the Old Seward Highway the Olds began to hop like a demented jack rabbit – up, down, and sideways. It was interesting but we weren’t afraid. Yet. Betty began to curse. First she thought we were jumping around in the roomy back seat. Then she assumed a flat tire. "Jesus Christ,” she yelled, "a Goddam flat tire!” The giggles in the back seat became loud guffaws. "Shut up you little brats!” said front seat big sister Linda. "Just shut up!” The madder Betty got, the funnier we thought it was, even after we realized it was an earthquake. We’d had hundreds – no big deal, right? Wrong.





Betty, the most glamorous and sophisticated of all the homestead neighbors, was known for her uncommon and sophisticated use of makeup, hairspray, cigarettes and spicy language. When a gaping 18” crack ripped across the road in front of the car and we bounced sideways into the ditch, Betty’s skin as viewed from the back seat lost all color, creating an interesting demarcation where the pancake began. Even more amusing to the morons in the back seat, the loud curses changed mid-sentence to ferverent prayer. We found this hilarious – howling with rude preadolescent laughter. Linda nearly came over the seat trying to slap us silent. After forty-odd years I still chuckle remembering this spontaneous religious conversion.





The road before us undulated like a snapped sheet. Cracks gaped and then slammed shut like the mouths of monsters. Large sections of road collapsed. Our front tires hopped into a crevasse not quite wide enough to swallow them. Carol Ann and I were still laughing but now there was a hint of disbelieving fear in our voices. It stopped being funny when a manhole cover shaped chunk of peat and ice blew out of the frozen bog ten feet from my window, soaring to a surreal height above the power lines. The highway was destroyed, pavement crumbled, groaning crevasses too wide to jump now decorated the roadbed every few feet.





The motion seemed to last a lifetime. It was, in fact, the longest and most violent earthquake in recorded history. The aftershocks began almost immediately and rivaled the original event. The only sounds inside the Olds came from Betty and the restless earth. Eventually Betty subsided. Nobody spoke for half an hour – nobody moved. We held ourselves still and rigid as though we feared that some small movement would tip the Olds into the underworld. Aftershocks continued unabated. It wasn’t simply that we were too scared to move, it was that we had no means of safely moving more than a few feet, no way of calling for help, and not much to say. Betty began to repeat, "Curt will come. Curt will find us.” Carol Ann and I were more reassured by this mantra than the previous frantic prayer.





Eventually we spotted the familiar fins of a 1957 red and white Chevy Ranchero. Carol’s dad Curt, a veteran WWII and Alaska bush pilot slowly approached, bridging the still rumbling crevasses with 2x12 lumber, driving across, and repeating the process – progress measured in inches. We had no pre-rehearsed emergency plan, but at that time there was only one road to "town” – the Old Seward Highway. Hours passed before we made it home. To this day, for that and many other reasons, Curt is my hero.





We later learned that the JC Penney building had collapsed, killing shoppers and folks parked at the curb where we had only minutes before waited for our ride home. Thank goodness for Cheetos.





Like many homesteader-type families, ours had the means to survive without such frills as electricity, running water, or a furnace. Coleman lanterns and cook stoves normally used in hunting camps emerged, the neighborhood creek provided water to wash and flush when it was discovered that the cracks and crevasses had drained the well, and a wood stove kept our family and a large number of less prepared neighbors warm for a week or more while Anchorage settled into the new reality of a town without infrastructure. We got by. We did better than that – we got by and had fun as well.





I’m sure my parents worried until the well began to refill and the aftershocks diminished, but I remember hearing nothing like whining or fretting – not by anyone. Alaska in that era was not populated by whiners. For the most part we were comfortable because we lived a lifestyle of preparedness as a matter of routine. Our freezer was full of moose, caribou and salmon. The pantry sported cases of canned fish and game as well as garden vegetables. The root cellar held a small mountain of burlap sacks filled with homegrown potatoes and sand-filled buckets stuffed with carrots and other root vegetables. Power outages were common and lengthy back then, so nearly every family stocked batteries, fuel for the lamps, camp stoves, and vehicles, ammunition, and firewood. Work was often seasonal so essentials like canned fruit, powdered milk, and toilet paper were purchased in quantity during rare trips to the grocery store, and stored for a rainy day. These items became more valuable than cash.





After the ’64 quake we were without electricity or phone service for weeks. We stayed informed with a crackly transistor radio and let our stateside relatives know we were safe via a neighbor with a ham radio. School and jobs were on hold for the duration. Neighbors helped neighbors repair damage. The hardest work involved filling the cracks with gravel from a neighborhood pit, one bucket or pick-up load at a time. No one waited for or expected to be "rescued” by a government agency.





As an adult, I no longer live the minimal, subsistence, self-sufficient lifestyle of my parents, sad to say. I purposefully stock a good supply of food and "survival” gear – most far more sophisticated than the supplies of my parents. While I might survive a similar event should another occur in my lifetime, I doubt that I could pull it off with anything approaching the grace and skill as my parents and neighbors. Living on the "ring of fire” I may yet have a chance to find out.



Cecelia Curtis




The Japan earthquake nuclear aspect certainly makes things interesting.
Link Posted: 3/12/2011 10:02:47 AM EDT
[#1]
all the earthguakes i have been in felt like i was in a trailer with an unbalanced washing machine.
Link Posted: 3/12/2011 9:37:41 PM EDT
[#2]
Having been born and lived in Calif. for 41 years I've lived through several good sized earthquakes. Some of the things I learned.
Attach bookcases and other large pieces of furniture (TVs) to the wall studs.
Use plumbers tape to attach the hot water heater to the wall studs.
Know where the natural gas meter and shut off valve is. They are together. Keep a wrench there to shut it off. Same with the water supply.
Keep a supply of batteries and flashlights. Keep them handy too.
Since this is SF I won't detail about having a supply of food and water on hand. We all do already, right? Try not to keep all your eggs in one basket though. Use different parts of the house. I keep a case (6 gal.) of water in each bedroom.
Stay inside, try to get to a doorway. They have some of the strongest framing in your house.
Stay away from chimneys, especially brick. Brick IS NOT good in a quake.
Don't keep all your guns in the safe. It can get buried.
Link Posted: 3/12/2011 11:05:25 PM EDT
[#3]
Northridge '94, just a few blocks from the apartment collapses that racked up most of the deaths.

I was tossed out of bed, with things falling on me before I was even awake / aware. My entire focus was on getting everyone out of the house.  Out in the january cold in our PJs, barefooted. Took a good while between shocks to screw up the courage and get back in the house to get clothes, light, blankets, a weapon.

Other than reiterating the standards about water, food you can eat without prep, communications, weapons etc etc., the biggest piece of advice I can suggest is storing a cache of immediate needs items OUTside of your home. Someplace that won't be buried. A sturdy set of clothes, boots gloves, winter gear, any critical meds, spare eyeglasses. Some tools for getting back into the rubble of your house. Crowbar, axe. work gloves.

Wire the gas shutoff tool TO the piping next to the valve. Same for the water meter, wrap whatever tool you need in plastic and throw it in the meter hole. That way you won't have to keep going into a collapsing structure to find your tools.

Having an emergency / rechargeable light of the type that rests plugged into a wallsocket and which automatically turns on when the power is cut off would be highly desireable.  In my case it was pausing at the bottom of the steps, in the pitch dark, barefooted, trying to discern if the very large windows in the two-story entryway had shattered and coated the entryway, while the main shock still rocked and rolled. Didn't hesitate more than a couple seconds to decide it would be better to have cut feet than be crushed.

Forget the idea that you'll get dressed, or don footgear, or that you'll retrieve anything but your loved ones on your way out the door.

-

For years afterward I kept a seabag with such a set of clothing and related essentials handy and ready to go. Set by the front door. I've fallen out of that practice, but have a bob of sorts in our vehicles now, and am much better stocked with regards to self-support in the immediate aftermath of such a devastating event.

I need to take that a step further and get a steel 55gal drum with removeable lid and fill it with everythign I listed above and stash it in the fenced in pool equipment enclosure in our backyard.  A disaster cache that will give us everything we immediately need if suddenly driven out of our home by earthquake or fire.
Link Posted: 3/12/2011 11:34:16 PM EDT
[#4]
Quoted:
Having been born and lived in Calif. for 41 years I've lived through several good sized earthquakes. Some of the things I learned.
Attach bookcases and other large pieces of furniture (TVs) to the wall studs.
Use plumbers tape to attach the hot water heater to the wall studs.
Know where the natural gas meter and shut off valve is. They are together. Keep a wrench there to shut it off. Same with the water supply.
Keep a supply of batteries and flashlights. Keep them handy too.
Since this is SF I won't detail about having a supply of food and water on hand. We all do already, right? Try not to keep all your eggs in one basket though. Use different parts of the house. I keep a case (6 gal.) of water in each bedroom.
Stay inside, try to get to a doorway. They have some of the strongest framing in your house.
Stay away from chimneys, especially brick. Brick IS NOT good in a quake.
Don't keep all your guns in the safe. It can get buried.




Brother Mike speaks the truth. Oh, and if you've never been in a earthquake? It sucks, damn scary and such a powerful force happening around you it's awe inspiring and terrifying all at once.
Link Posted: 3/13/2011 12:14:30 AM EDT
[#5]
The only tremor I was in was when I was an infant, so I can't remember. I heard during an earthquake, the earth actually groans/roars. Is this true? If so, what would you describe the sound?
Link Posted: 3/13/2011 5:20:05 AM EDT
[#6]
We just got power, hotwater, and internet restored from the Japan earthquake.  I live on the 9th floor in a tower and holy cow WHAT A RIDE.  They are reporting an 80% chance of another one of 7.0 or higher with in the next few weeks.  I will post my lesons learned soon
Link Posted: 3/13/2011 7:19:49 AM EDT
[#7]
living in Michigan we do not get them often but do occasionally feel em. I can remember feeling three in my 38 year life. Last was many 2-3 years ago. never any damage worse than a crack window or plaster.

J-
Link Posted: 3/13/2011 1:10:04 PM EDT
[#8]
Quoted:
Quoted:
Having been born and lived in Calif. for 41 years I've lived through several good sized earthquakes. Some of the things I learned.
Attach bookcases and other large pieces of furniture (TVs) to the wall studs.
Use plumbers tape to attach the hot water heater to the wall studs.
Know where the natural gas meter and shut off valve is. They are together. Keep a wrench there to shut it off. Same with the water supply.
Keep a supply of batteries and flashlights. Keep them handy too.
Since this is SF I won't detail about having a supply of food and water on hand. We all do already, right? Try not to keep all your eggs in one basket though. Use different parts of the house. I keep a case (6 gal.) of water in each bedroom.
Stay inside, try to get to a doorway. They have some of the strongest framing in your house.
Stay away from chimneys, especially brick. Brick IS NOT good in a quake.
Don't keep all your guns in the safe. It can get buried.


I lived in Laguna Calif. in the late 90's.we had a 7.0 hit 29 Palms area and it shook my Apt. and the blinds shook back and forth over 3 ft from one side to the other that were on the sliding glass door to the balcony. We had after shocks and I felt like a truck hit the building. My girl friend at the time was at work for the aftershock and I called her on a cell and she said the same thing, it was like a truck hit the building...she was freaking out..She was about 20-25 miles away..It made me realize that we are nothing compaired to the force of mother nature.
Th


Brother Mike speaks the truth. Oh, and if you've never been in a earthquake? It sucks, damn scary and such a powerful force happening around you it's awe inspiring and terrifying all at once.


Link Posted: 3/13/2011 4:01:34 PM EDT
[#9]
I lived less than a block from the San Andreas fault. Preparedness has always been a way of life in my family. I live in AZ now, so I prepare for different things now.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 3/13/2011 5:05:03 PM EDT
[#10]
Quoted:
I lived less than a block from the San Andreas fault. Preparedness has always been a way of life in my family. I live in AZ now, so I prepare for different things now.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


House I lived in when I was a kid was "deemed unlivible" after the Northridge...Fault line went threw the backyard and moved the fenced about 6 feet total...

As far as prepping for a earthquake...make sure items are strapped down that could do damage...One thing that could have been bad for us during Northridge, was the propane tank rolled over and was leaking less then 100 feet from the house.

I would also say that secured stored preps away from the house is a must...When the quake hit, literly nothing in the house was usable. Nothing but the clothes on our back for weeks after that.

Extra clothes a couple hundred gallons of water would have been amazing at the time. We were drinking canned water from beer company for a while and it was horrible.

Keep it basic and plan in bulk.
Link Posted: 3/13/2011 7:15:05 PM EDT
[#11]
Quoted:
Quoted:
I lived less than a block from the San Andreas fault. Preparedness has always been a way of life in my family. I live in AZ now, so I prepare for different things now.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


House I lived in when I was a kid was "deemed unlivible" after the Northridge...Fault line went threw the backyard and moved the fenced about 6 feet total...




Nothing near as crazy as what I quoted, but here's mine...

I spent a summer in Peru several years back, during my college days.  On an archeology tour, and to work on a dig.

The dig we were working on was on the North Coast of Peru, halfway between Trujillo and Lima...we (myself and three other of my schoolmates) were piss drunk at 2 or 3 in the morning when our empty beer bottles and glasses started bouncing off the table!

The two Peruvians we were working for had already gone to bed, but came flying out of the bedroom with blankets and the keys to the Jeep.  We all headed to the bluff along with the rest of the populace of the small town to wait for the possible tsunami, which ended up only being fairly small and ended up being a "little bit of a high tide" when it was supposed to be low tide.

The townspeople were very relieved, and we spent the rest of the night around a bonfire sitting on blankets and sharing our "pilsen trujillo" cervezas with those that had gathered the wood and lit the fire.  It was quite a night!

We were pretty lucky though...A couple girls who were a year or two ahead of us had been to Peru the year before (our arch. program had a couple of Andean Archeologists on it...so we were heavy on the Peru, lol) and had experienced a much more severe tsunami.

They were on the south coast, near Nazca when a much bigger earthquake hit and created a tsunami which completely destroyed the village where they had been staying.  Luckily they had left town just a few days earlier and were far from the coast when the earthquake/tsunami actually hit.

Link Posted: 3/13/2011 7:47:44 PM EDT
[#12]
Like everybody has suggested, ability to shut off utilities and keep some preps away from the house.



Our preps are in in a lightly constructed outbuilding (pretty much a stick framed shed. If it collapses, damage will be minimal and we could dismantle it with very few tools.



Keep a flashlight in/on your nightstand and keep a pair of shoes in a place you can get to them without getting out of bed. Being barefoot, in the dark and having to navigate broken glass to find shoes would suck.



Have fuel on hand, in a serious quake it will be in short supply quickly. The Japanese are having fuel, power, food and water shortages already. Keep that in mind.
Link Posted: 3/13/2011 7:50:43 PM EDT
[#13]
My first earthquake experience was a few weeks ago. A 4.5 hit the honolulu area, nothing big and it only lasted a few seconds.

But let me tell you...the ground shaking beneath me was the WEIRDEST sensation. I can't even begin to imagine an 8+
Link Posted: 3/13/2011 8:15:32 PM EDT
[#14]
I lived 7 miles from the epicenter of the Loma Prieta quake in 1989.

I think the important things have already been covered.  Know how to turn off the gas/electricity/water.  You may have to do that real fast, if the 'quake damages your gas/power/water lines.

Have water heater and other stuff secured.  Mine wasn't.  One of the lines tore and I had to replace it. One of the toilets came unseated.  Most of the glassware in our cupboards shook out and was broken.  Also, chimney broke and we couldn't use our woodstove.  An alternate heat source would be important in cold climates.

Have water stored.  Our city water was questionable for 5 days after the quake.  

Have food stored.  I went to buy some repair stuff the day after the quake.  Noticed the line in front of the local Safeway was REAL long.  I measured it with my odometer as I drove by.  1.1 miles long.  Glad I didn't have to wait through that. Reason: power was out.  Store employees would take pne person per employee through the staore, and let you buy what you could carry and could pay cash for.  No credit card processing.

Have alternate light/power sources.  Power for us was out for 3 days.  No genny, so we ate what was in the freezer and fridge, first.  Had plenty of other food if needed.  

Have a cash reserve and know a contractor.  A couple days after the quake it rained, and my roof had become a sieve.  Contractors were totally overbooked with repair work after the quake.  Because I could pay cash, and not have to wait for a FEMA loan, like most other folks, and because my church group could help with prep work on short notice, and because I had done some work with a contractor recently,  I was able to get the roof and other repairs made with a few days.  Many people waited months.

I had a light case of post-traumatic stress syndrome for a few months after the quake.  LOTS of other people did, too. We all talked about it at work.   Any shake––car going over a pothole, turbulence in a plane ride, some sounds, would bring on a moment of terror.  Trigger a re-experience of the terror of the quake.  Made me a little more understanding of vets with PTSD.
Link Posted: 3/13/2011 8:46:56 PM EDT
[#15]
Quoted:
The only tremor I was in was when I was an infant, so I can't remember. I heard during an earthquake, the earth actually groans/roars. Is this true? If so, what would you describe the sound?


bass rumble. tinkling glass. crumbling block walls. The swishing of the trees as they were whipped back and forth. A sort of freight train sound. And it was directional during the aftershocks. You could hear a wave coming, a long way off..

eta and speaking of glassware and cupboards - literally everything in my Northridge house was on the floor. EVERYTHING. A team of humans could not have more thoroughly trashed the palce if they'd tried. Everything broken. My kitchen cupboards emptied out, glass jars broken, dishes broken. The worst / classic was the heavy older microwave apparently shimmying off the kitchen counter, turning the open diswasher door into a springboard, launching said dishwasher right into the fridge doors.  All three applicates knocked out like some piece of self-destructing performance artwork.

Link Posted: 3/13/2011 11:51:57 PM EDT
[#16]
Stay out of brick buildings
Link Posted: 3/14/2011 1:43:20 AM EDT
[#17]
I am a life long Californian. I live in L.A. I been through many of them, and I survived. The ones I remember was the Northridge quake, it came like 5:30am. I remember one PD guy on his motorbike was killed when he went off a freeway due to a broken transition road. Our transition roads can be like 100' in the air.

I got 6 55 gallon drums of water, & 2 25 gallons. The smaller drums could be move if we had to do an "exfil of the AO." I also have 5 5-gallon water containers in case there is no time to move those heavy containers.

I have my supplies in a duffle bag, and extra Mountain House 2-4 serving food. Ideally each member of the family should have their own backpack & duffle bag, of course if they are too little, then mom & dad will have to carry them.

Have a little stove, I have a MSR camping stove to heat water, and fuel. A mess kit, and pans, just in case there is no power or NG. A knife, matches etc.
Link Posted: 3/14/2011 2:24:27 AM EDT
[#18]
Not personal experience, but I can remember reading about someone being very insistent on always having shoes on , or very close (next to the bed, shower, etc.) because of broken glass and china after a quake.

My own limited experience with earthquakes was with a minor 3.5-ish quake in the New Madrid area.  I was surprised how quickly I realized what I was experiencing, despite having no prior quake experiences.  It was over before I could react, though.
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