LOS ANGELES, July 2, 2020 – This July 4 and 5 will mark one year since a series of strong earthquakes rocked the Searles Valley area. The American Red Cross Los Angeles Region was on the ground helping neighbors affected in its aftermath and reminds Angelenos to review and adjust their emergency plans.
SEE: Photos of the Red Cross LA Ridgecrest Earthquake Disaster Response (Flickr)
The 2019 Ridgecrest earthquakes were two of the biggest temblors to hit California in nearly a decade. In response, the Red Cross mobilized more than 260 disaster workers – 90 percent volunteers – who along with partners, served more than 62,300 meals, provided more than 1,200 overnight shelter stays and distributed more than 2,000 relief items. Volunteer mental health, health services and spiritual care professionals also provided more than 3,600 contacts providing support and care to affected Californians.
“The one-year anniversary of the Ridgecrest earthquakes and its many aftershocks, including the magnitude 5.5 aftershock felt just four weeks ago, serve as a reminder that earthquakes are an unavoidable fact of life here in California,” said Joselito Garcia-Ruiz, Regional Disaster Program Officer at American Red Cross Los Angeles Region. “The next earthquake could be even more devastating and being prepared is crucial. Ready yourself and our loved ones now by taking three simple actions: 1) Get a kit. 2) Make a plan. 3) Be informed.”
After a major disaster, families should be prepared with enough food, water, and emergency supplies to last up to two weeks until help can arrive. The Red Cross recommends three basic steps:
- Get a kit – Build an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you if you must evacuate. Include items such as water, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a battery-powered radio, first aid kit and medications. Be sure to also include a cloth face covering for everyone in your household who can wear one safely.
- 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 and another outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate.
- Be informed – Know what kinds of emergency situations may occur where you live, where you work and where you go to school. Because of COVID-19, stay current on advice and restrictions from your state and local public health authorities as it may affect your actions and available resources and facilities.
The Red Cross offers these safety steps you should follow during an earthquake:
- Avoid moving around. Drop, cover and hold on.
- Try to protect your head and torso. If you are sitting at a desk or table, get under it. Otherwise, drop wherever you are.
- If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on. Protect your head with a pillow.
- Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit.
- If you must leave a building after the shaking stops, use stairs rather than an elevator in case of aftershocks, power outages or other damage.
- If you smell gas, get out of the building and move as far away as possible.
- Before you leave any building check to make sure that there is no debris from the building that could fall on you.
If you are outside, find a clear spot away from buildings, power lines, trees and streetlights. Drop to the ground and stay there until the shaking stops.
- 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.
After an earthquake, expect and prepare for potential aftershocks.
- Anytime you feel an aftershock, drop, cover and hold on.
- Aftershocks frequently occur minutes, days, weeks and even months following an earthquake.
- Also prepare for potential landslides, or a tsunami if you live in a coastal area.
For free virtual disaster preparedness classes open to the community and presented in English and Spanish, visit redcross.org/la-virtual.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/la or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossLA or @CruzRojaLA.