This week’s earthquake swarm beneath the Salton Sea, at the southern end of the San Andreas Fault, is a stark reminder that Riverside County residents and businesses must prepare for earthquakes.
“Earthquakes can happen at any time,” said Bruce Barton, director of the Riverside County Emergency Management Department (EMD). “It is important to remember that Southern California is earthquake country and Riverside County has active fault lines running through it. The time to prepare for earthquakes is now.”
The U.S. Geological Survey issued a public statement Aug. 10, noting that there is an 80 percent probability that earthquakes will continue over the next seven days and some may be moderate in size between magnitude 4.5 and 5.4. A moderate earthquake may cause localized damage. There is approximately a 19 percent chance that a larger earthquake between magnitude 5.5 – 6.9 could occur within seven days, which could cause damage around the Salton Sea, as well as aftershocks. There is a 1 percent probability that a much larger earthquake of magnitude 7 or higher can occur with seven days.
It is critical for all Riverside County residents, business owners and visitors to plan for what to do before, during and after an earthquake, including:
- Now: Create an emergency kit with water, food and other essential items that will sustain your family for three to seven days.
- During: Drop, cover and hold on during the shaking. If driving, pull to the side of road and stop until shaking stops. Do not take cover under overpasses or bridges.
- After: Prepare for aftershocks. Do not handle or drive over downed power lines. If you smell gas, leave the area.
“This latest swarm of earthquakes reminds me of words from my former UC Riverside geography professor. He told us students, ‘This is earthquake country. It is only a matter of time for a major earthquake.’ We should always be prepared,” Board Chair V. Manuel Perez, Fourth District Supervisor., said in a prepared statement.
In the event of a trembler, EMD will provide emergency information and instructions through the media, social media and phone notification systems. Visit RivCoReady.org, @RivCoReady on Twitter and Facebook for valuable information on how to prepare, including instructions on how to build an emergency kit. Community members are also urged to register cell phone numbers with the county’s mass notification system, called Alert RivCo.
- Seismograph: Shutterstock