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April is California Earthquake Preparedness Month

SACRAMENTO -- Since the great San Francisco Earthquake took place 106 years ago on April 16, 1906, April has been designated by the state as California Earthquake Preparedness Month.

California has more earthquakes than any other state in the nation making preparation is a 24/7 necessity. California Earthquake Preparedness Month is a public awareness campaign designed to educate all Californians about the earthquake risk in California and the steps that Californians can take to reduce the risk of death, injury and property loss.

Surprisingly, many Californians do NOT consider themselves at risk unless they live on or near the line of a well-known fault, such as the San Andreas or Hayward Fault. This misconception leaves millions of Californians unprepared for an earthquake.

San Diego County, in comparison to other southern California areas, has sparse seismicity. However, since 1984, earthquake activity in San Diego County has doubled over that of the preceding 50 years. It may surprise many to know that a major fault, called Rose Canyon, cuts right through the heart of downtown San Diego, through the center of San Diego Bay, and north through La Jolla and up along the coast. And just about one year ago on Easter Sunday, we experienced a fairly significant temblor.

Preparing for earthquakes in California is somewhat like preparing for floods and fires; the job will never be finished. The following steps can serve as a good beginning for preparation:

-Practice the drop, cover and hold on earthquake safety action with children. Get under the nearest table or desk or against an interior wall, cover your head and neck and hold on (even if it is just to your head and neck.) This will help potential earthquake victims reduce their risk of injury;

-Prepare a 72-hour emergency kit that includes food, water, first-aid supplies, a battery operated radio, prescription drugs and a flashlight. This is a good idea for any disaster, such as an earthquake, freezing weather, a flood, an electrical blackout, etc.;

-Ensure your house is bolted to its foundation and have your chimneys, roofs and walls checked for stability;

-Secure your water heater and major appliances, as well as tall, heavy furniture; mirrors, bookcases, computers, computer equipment and picture frames; and

-Know the safe areas, such as under a sturdy table or desk or against interior walls in each room.

While these steps are a reasonable start toward earthquake preparedness, you can learn much more by contacting the office of Assemblymember Toni Atkins at (619) 645-3090 and requesting a California Earthquake Preparedness Guide.