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American Red Cross and Mexican Red Cross Respond to Easter Sunday Earthquake

The American Red Cross’ San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter sprang into action yesterday when an Easter Sunday 7.3 magnitude earthquake shook the U.S.-Mexico border south of San Diego.

The quake was felt as far away as Phoenix and Las Vegas, but most U.S. damage appears to be limited to California’s Imperial Valley. No injuries were reported in the U.S. Hardest hit was Calexico, CA, where, according to news reports, some masonry buildings cracked and gas and power lines came down. Red Cross disaster specialists in the region are assessing the damage. Over 100 senior citizens were evacuated from their residences and Red Cross employees and volunteers provided them with food, water, and other supplies.

Across the border, Mexicali took the hardest hit. More than 100 people were injured. News reports indicate 300 hospital patients had to be evacuated to private clinics. The Mexican Red Cross is focusing on damage assessment, pre-hospital care, evacuation, and search and rescue efforts.

Earthquakes have been making headlines in the last several months. A catastrophic quake devastated Haiti in January. A little over a month later an earthquake hit central Chile. In March, yet another quake rocked Turkey.

Earthquakes strike suddenly, without warning, and can occur at any time of the year, day or night. Forty-­five states and territories in every region in the United States are at moderate to very high risk of earthquakes.

Do you know what you should do in the event of an earthquake? For instance, the thinking used to be to stand in a doorway if you are inside during an earthquake. Now the recommendation is to get under a sturdy piece of furniture and hold on to protect yourself from falling objects during the quake.

If you are inside when an earthquake strikes...
  • Drop, cover and hold on. Move as little as possible.
  • If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on. Protect your head with a pillow.
  • Stay away from windows to avoid being injured by shattered glass.
  • Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. If you must leave the building after the shaking stops, use stairs rather than an elevator in case there are aftershocks, power outages or other damage.
  • Be aware that fire alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire.
If you are outside...
  • Find a clear spot and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops (away from buildings, power lines, trees, streetlights).
  • If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible. Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Then, drive carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.
  • If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
  • If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.

The American Red Cross information on earthquake preparedness tells you how to be ready before an earthquake starts, and what to do to stay safe during and after an earthquake. You can learn what you should pack in your emergency kit. Be ready. Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.