ImagesAbout 30 minutes ago, we here in the Los Angeles area experienced a 5.8 earthquake. We’re all fine here, after spending a minute or so hanging onto a door frame and feeling the house rolling back and forth a bit. No damage that we can see (although the dog is a bit perplexed). We’re hoping everyone else in Southern California, especially near the epicenter in the Diamond Bar area, is OK.

This seems like a great time to remind everyone about the Red Cross recommendations for what to do following an earthquake:

  • Check yourself for injuries. Often people tend to others
    without checking their own injuries. You will be better able to care
    for others if you are not injured or if you have received first aid for
    your injuries.

  • Protect yourself from further danger by putting on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes, and work gloves. This will protect your from further injury by broken objects.

  • After you have taken care of yourself, help injured or trapped persons.
    If you have it in your area, call 9-1-1, then give first aid when
    appropriate. Don’t try to move seriously injured people unless they are
    in immediate danger of further injury.

  • Look for and extinguish small fires. Eliminate fire hazards.
    Putting out small fires quickly, using available resources, will
    prevent them from spreading. Fire is the most common hazard following
    earthquakes. Fires followed the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 for
    three days, creating more damage than the earthquake.

  • Leave the gas on at the main valve, unless you smell gas or think it’s leaking.
    It may be weeks or months before professionals can turn gas back on
    using the correct procedures. Explosions have caused injury and death
    when homeowners have improperly turned their gas back on by themselves.

  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline, or other flammable liquids immediately. Avoid the hazard of a chemical emergency.

  • Open closet and cabinet doors cautiously. Contents may have shifted during the shaking of an earthquake and could fall, creating further damage or injury.

  • Inspect your home for damage. Get everyone out if your home is unsafe.
    Aftershocks following earthquakes can cause further damage to unstable
    buildings. If your home has experienced damage, get out before
    aftershocks happen.

  • Help neighbors who may require special assistance. Elderly
    people and people with disabilities may require additional assistance.
    People who care for them or who have large families may need additional
    assistance in emergency situations.

  • Listen to a portable, battery-operated radio (or television) for updated emergency information and instructions.
    If the electricity is out, this may be your main source of information.
    Local radio and local officials provide the most appropriate advice for
    your particular situation.

  • Expect aftershocks. Each time you feel one, drop, cover, and
    hold on! Aftershocks frequently occur minutes, days, weeks, and even
    months following an earthquake.

  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines, and stay out of damaged areas. Hazards caused by earthquakes are often difficult to see, and you could be easily injured.

  • Stay out of damaged buildings. If you are away from home,
    return only when authorities say it is safe. Damaged buildings may be
    destroyed by aftershocks following the main quake.

  • Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights to inspect your home. Kerosene lanterns, torches, candles, and matches may tip over or ignite flammables inside.

  • Inspect the entire length of chimneys carefully for damage.
    Unnoticed damage could lead to fire or injury from falling debris
    during an aftershock. Cracks in chimneys can be the cause of a fire
    years later.

  • Take pictures of the damage, both to the house and its contents, for insurance claims.

  • Avoid smoking inside buildings. Smoking in confined areas can cause fires.

  • When entering buildings, use extreme caution. Building damage may have occurred where you least expect it. Carefully watch every step you take.

    • Examine walls, floor, doors, staircases, and windows to make sure that the building is not in danger of collapsing.

    • Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear a blowing or
      hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off
      the gas, using the outside main valve if you can, and call the gas
      company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason,
      it must be turned back on by a professional.

    • Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or
      broken or frayed wires, or if you smell burning insulation, turn off
      the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to
      step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an
      electrician first for advice.

    • Check for sewage and water line damage. If you suspect sewage
      lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water
      pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from
      the tap. You can obtain safe water from undamaged water heaters or by
      melting ice cubes.

    • Watch for loose plaster, drywall, and ceilings that could fall.

  • Use the telephone only to report life-threatening emergencies. Telephone lines are frequently overwhelmed in disaster situations. They need to be clear for emergency calls to get through.

  • Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard.
    The behavior of pets may change dramatically after an earthquake.
    Normally quiet and friendly cats and dogs may become aggressive or

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5 Responses to “Earthquake!”

  1. Irene says:

    One more thing!
    Blog so people who love you on the East coast know that everything is OK :-)

  2. Harmony says:

    Just thought I would drop in and say I am back in the blog world and was glad to see you have continued sharing with your readers. I also lived in So. Ca for several years and remember experiencing a few EQ. After all your shake rattle and roll, it’s good to see you still standing!
    Blessings, Harmony

  3. Kathy Sena says:

    Harmony, thanks for the kind thoughts. I’ve missed your comments! Stop by and comment more often. You’re a great part of this community!

  4. Kathy Sena says:

    Irene, you’re right. It’s just one more reason to blog!

  5. We don’t have threat of earthquake up here in Oregon, but we have an emergency kit none the less.
    Even if you’re in a low risk part of the country, it’s always good to have a back-up plan and supplies.