As the anniversary of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake approaches, it serves as a reminder of the importance of being prepared for an emergency.
The magnitude-6.7 earthquake shook the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys in the early morning hours of Jan. 17, 1994, leaving significant damage to numerous structures, including the collapsing of the Newhall Pass interchange for Highway 14 and Interstate 5.
As a result of the earthquake, 57 people died and $20 billion worth of damage was done, according to the Red Cross, making it the costliest natural disaster in United States history. Thousands of Santa Clarita residents were without power, water or gas which prompted response from emergency services to prevent gas leaks and fires from erupting.
“Occurrences like these are one of the major reasons the city makes emergency preparedness a priority,” said City Manager Ken Striplin, in a previous story. “Each year, California generally experiences two or three earthquakes large enough to cause moderate damage to structures. This means it is not a question about if an earthquake will strike, but when.”
To be prepared for an earthquake, or any other emergency, The American Red Cross recommends having enough food and water to last two weeks, along with four other tips:
- Have an emergency kit. The kit should include water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, a sufficient amount of batteries, a battery-powered radio, first-aid kit and medication.
- Make a plan. Talk with members of your household about what to do during emergencies. Plan what to do in case everyone is separated and choose two places to meet, one right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency such as a fire, and another outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate.
- Be informed. Know what to do before, during and after a wildfire, earthquake and home fire.
- Learn CPR. In an emergency, you will be the first person on the scene. Make sure at least one member of your household is fully trained to administer CPR and first aid.
As the anniversary approaches, the COVID-19 pandemic causes strain on emergency services and could cause issues with emergency preparedness. The Red Cross offers tips to deal with emergencies during the pandemic.
- Some emergency kit supplies may be hard to get due to the pandemic, and availability may worsen in a disaster, right now is the best time to start gathering supplies.
- Ask friends or relatives outside your area if you can stay with them if needed. Check and see if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or have people in their home at higher risk for serious illness. If they do, make other arrangements.
- Check with hotels, motels and campgrounds to see if they are open and if pets are allowed.
- Due to the pandemic, stay current on advice and restrictions from your state and local public health authorities as it may affect your actions, available resources and shelter facilities.
The American Red Cross offers an emergency app that is available on iOS and Android devices free of charge and gives emergency preparedness guidelines and emergency alerts.