(SACRAMENTO) On the anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in the Bay Area, and in a month when Southern Californians learned of a significant new fault in their backyard, the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) reminds Californians that no part of the state is without earthquake risk and invites everyone to get better prepared by joining the Great California ShakeOut drill.
This year’s ShakeOut drill is set for 10:20 a.m. this Thursday, Oct. 20, and CEA will participate alongside millions of Californians. The annual event is an opportunity for people all over the world to practice what to do during earthquakes—drop, cover, and hold on!—and to prepare for earthquakes in other ways.
“California is earthquake country,” said CEA CEO Glenn Pomeroy. “We don’t need to live in fear, but we do need to be prepared and know what to do when the ground starts shaking. That’s why ShakeOut is so important.”
Californians often hear that they live in “earthquake country.” Here’s why:
- Some 2,000 known faults exist in California, and scientists continue to find new ones. Just this month, researchers announced the discovery of the Salton Trough fault in Southern California. The discovery was announced just after a swarm of more than 200 small quakes in the Salton Sea prompted an earthquake advisory to be issued.
- Since the magnitude-6.7 earthquake in Northridge in 1994, California has experienced more than 1,100 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater—all around the state. Examples include the magnitude-6.6 San Simeon earthquake on the Central Coast in 2003, the magnitude-7.2 Baja California earthquake in 2010 and the magnitude-6.0 Napa earthquake in 2014.
- Scientists say there’s a 99 percent chance of an earthquake the size of Northridge occurring in California again in the next 30 years. Earthquakes as large as 8.3 are also possible though far less likely.
- According to the U.S. Geological Survey, 30 of the 48 earthquakes in the United States that have proved deadly have occurred in California. The magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake that occurred 27 years ago today caused 63 deaths and 3,757 injuries.
“California is a beautiful place to live, but it does have seismic hazards that can be dangerous,” said Pomeroy. “ShakeOut is an opportunity for people to take action now to improve their preparedness, before the next earthquake strikes.”
More than 10 million Californians have already signed up for the Great California ShakeOut drill, and there’s still time to register by visiting ShakeOut.org.
“ShakeOut is a way for California communities to prepare together, so that we’re better able to survive and recover when the next earthquake happens,” said Mark Benthien, outreach director for the Southern California Earthquake Center and global coordinator for Great ShakeOut earthquake drills. “The California Earthquake Authority has been a committed partner in promoting ShakeOut throughout the state since its beginning in 2008.”
In addition to knowing what to do during an earthquake, Californians can be better prepared before one by securing their space, creating a disaster plan and organizing disaster supplies.
They can also take steps to minimize their financial hardship, by organizing important documents, strengthening their property and considering earthquake insurance (including loss-of-use coverage in case their home is not habitable after an earthquake and they need to live or eat elsewhere). For example, if the Loma Prieta earthquake 27 years ago were to reoccur today, only about one in 10 of those affected who have residential insurance would also be covered by earthquake insurance. Those without earthquake insurance would be on their own to cover repair, rebuilding and replacement costs in the event of earthquake damage.
Californians can learn more about earthquake preparedness by reading the “Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety” or visiting EarthquakeAuthority.com. To learn more about Thursday’s ShakeOut drill, visit ShakeOut.org.
CEA is a not-for-profit, privately funded, publicly managed organization that provides residential earthquake insurance and encourages Californians to reduce their risk of earthquake loss. Learn more at EarthquakeAuthority.com.