A■ By Halima Haider / Reporter
deadly earthquake shaking the ground beneath your feet and taking everything and everyone you love is a thought that can seem morbidly farfetched to Southern California inhabitants.
Southern Californians are quick to assume that a catastrophic calamity of the sort may occur in Chile, Japan, Haiti, and Nepal, but probably not in SoCal –– and definitely not in the San Jacinto Valley. However, according to IFLScience, one research study suggests that a magnitude 7.5 earthquake is highly possible, the impact of which is similar to “unleashing 1,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs’ worth of energy in a matter of seconds.”
Valley residents typically cringe when hearing the three gnawing words –– “Earthquake Survival Kit.” Our initial reaction is to scoff at the very thought, ignore it at all cost, and go about our day unphased as we skim through the tabloid covers as we wait in line at Sprouts or Stater Bros. Like the tabloids, the quake scares seem unsolicited, probably bogus, and have very little to do with our day-to-day lives.
Could it just be that most people are simply not aware of the two major faults –– San Andreas Fault and San Jacinto Fault Zone –– that slice through the southern hemisphere of the Golden State that put us at an ever-spiking risk of a deadly double rupture? Chances are, people know, but they just don’t care. In which case, we are here to shed a light of truth that could potentially save valley residents from devastation.
“It seems as though, until the earth shakes, it doesn’t register with people that a quake can be catastrophic,” said Rick Truskowski, owner of True Value Hardware in the Hemet Plaza Shopping Center, when confronted about the likelihood of a major quake rupturing the valley in the near future. “We tried having earthquake sales at our store many times, but to no avail. People never take the scare seriously, but the truth is that it can happen any day and the effects can be serious and even deadly.”
From propane tanks to flashlights to fire extinguishers to tarps to hybrid generators, True Value Hardware of Hemet, the Valle Vista Home Center, and Romeril Plumbing and Hardware (San Jacinto True Value branch) are some of the locally-trusted mainstays that have all the earthquake survival essentials covered.
“Because the San Jacinto fault cuts into the middle of the Inland Empire — instead of the edge of the desert — it cuts through a lot more people,” Julian Lozos, a Cal State Northridge professor of geophysics, told Los Angeles Times. “There’s just more people directly living on this fault.”
Although the infamous San Andreas Fault, often regarded as California’s “sleeping giant,” is the impetus behind the biggest quakes to rupture in all of California with a whopping 8.1 magnitude shake, researchers say that the lesser known deadly San Jacinto Fault Zone (SJFZ) –– which cuts through the valley –– is the most seismically active fault zone in all of Southern California.
Hemet and San Jacinto were both heavily damaged in two significant SJFZ ruptures in 1899 and 1918. Forty people were killed in the 1899 quake, and one died in 1918 even though it had the potential to kill hundreds. Ongoing studies suggest that a future shake can possibly kill a significantly larger number of people, including valley residents.
“People shouldn’t just be thinking about the San Andreas Fault,” Lozos told Stanford University News, an institution for which he conducted research. “There are lots of other faults, so it’s important for everyone in the regions at risk to have their earthquake kits ready.”
According to a 2015 NASA prediction, it is near certain that a magnitude 5.0 quake will hit Los Angeles before the summer of 2018. The most recent edition of the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast estimated the chance for a magnitude 8 or larger earthquake to jolt California by 2045.
The city of Hemet advises that whether you choose to buy a first aid kit or make one yourself, always make sure it includes any personal items your healthcare provider may suggest. Check your kit periodically to ensure damaged or expired items are replaced. Include extra batteries for flashlights. It’s also a good idea to have walkie-talkies since communications and cell towers may be out of commission or overloaded.
Here is a list of suggested items to include in a first aid kit (per person):
2 absorbent compress dressings (5×9 inches)
25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
1 adhesive cloth tape (10 year x 1 inch)
5 antibiotic ointment packets (approx. 1 gram)
5 antiseptic wipe packets
2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
1 CPR breathing barrier
1 instant cold compress
2 pair of non-latex gloves (size Large)
2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approx. 1 gram each)
1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
5 sterile gauze pads (3×3 inches)
5 sterile gauze pads (4×4 inches)
2 triangle bandages
Tools: Some items may be required depending on the situation. These tools are most commonly used during an earthquake event:
Flashlight w/batteries (one for every member of your family)
Gas/water shut off tool
Thick work gloves (one pair for every member of your family)
Hardhat (one for every member of your family)
Safety goggles (one pair for every member of your family)
The City of Hemet offers free Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T) training throughout the year. Upon graduation each participant receives a certificate and CERT bag w/ emergency items inside.
For more information on the SJFZ visit http://earthquaketrack.com/us-ca-east-hemet/recent
For more information on your local hardware supply stores visit http://ww3.truevalue.com/hemettruevalue/Home.aspx , http://www.vallevistahc.com
Stock up for disaster preparedness
Aside from the larger investments such as generators, here is an itemized list of essentials to stock up on to help survive a deadly shaker:
At home: nonperishable packaged or canned food; one gallon of water per person per day (replace every six months and count pets as family members); manual can opener; first aid kit and handbook, clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes; blankets or sleeping bags; portable radio and flashlight with spare batteries; essential medications; list of family physicians and the style and serial number of medical devices, such as pacemakers; extra pair of eyeglasses; extra set of house and car keys; toilet paper, toiletries and feminine hygiene items; fire extinguisher; pet food, water and leash or carrier; cash and small change, water purification kit or unscented liquid bleach (eight drops per gallon when water is first stored), any special foods and supplies for babies, the disabled or the elderly; plastic eating utensils, paper cups and plates; heavy-duty aluminum foil; paper towels; knife or razor blades; candles and light sticks; matches in waterproof container; work gloves and broom; hammer and nails; coils of rope and wire; ax, crowbar and shovel; small tool kit; cheesecloth (to strain water); large and small plastic bags; two tarps, 8 x 10 feet, local street map and compass; paper, pens and stamps; entertainment pack of family photos, notebooks, reading material and games.
In the car: nylon tote or day pack; bottled water; nonperishable food; manual can opener; transistor radio, flashlight and extra batteries; first aid kit; gloves; blanket or sleeping bags; resealable plastic bags; moist towelettes; small tool kit; matches and lighter; walking shoes and extra socks; change of clothes; cash (small bills and coins); local street map and compass.
At work: dry food, such as candy bars, dried fruit, jerky and crackers; boxed/bottled water or orange juice; tennis shoes or walking shoes; first aid kit; flashlight and portable radio with extra batteries, matches; small and large plastic bags; toiletries; hand sanitizer, entertainment pack of family photos, notebooks, reading material and games.