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Officials urge earthquake prep on heels of SoCal temblors

County holding training in Dublin on minimizing non-structural quake damage

A community training session on "Reducing the Risks of Nonstructural Earthquake Damage" will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Emergency Operations Center of the Alameda County Office of Emergency Services, 4985 Broder Blvd. in Dublin.

The Alameda County Office of Emergency Services is hosting the training, which is "encouraged for property owners, facility managers, local officials, engineers, architects, small businesses and emergency preparedness individuals," the county agency said in an announcement.

The center said that the majority of damage from recent earthquakes in California, around the United States, and overseas is due to nonstructural failures, such as architectural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, as well as furniture, fixtures, equipment, and other contents of a building.

"In many cases, businesses, schools, hospitals, and other organizations had to spend excessive time and dollars for clean-up and repair due to nonstructural failures," delaying recovery and the resumption of operations," the office said.

"Moreover, nonstructural component failures also impeded safe evacuation, delayed rescue, and caused additional hazards, such as fire, resulting in serious life-safety issues,” officials added.

The training will cover sources and types of nonstructural earthquake damage, and steps to take beforehand to minimize injuries and property losses from nonstructural risks in an earthquake.

Those who want to register for the training should email their name, organization, address, and phone number to tlangdon@acgov.org. For more details, call 803-7807.

Following a 6.4-magnitude earthquake on Thursday and a 7.1-magnitude one on Friday -- both of which originated near Ridgecrest in Southern California -- seismologists are warning against the aftershocks and emphasizing the value of preparedness across the state.

"We estimate that there is a 1 in 10 chance that Searles Valley will see another M7. That is a 9 in 10 chance tonight's M7.1 was the largest," tweeted Dr. Lucy Jones, a California Institute of Technology seismologist, about the probability of a greater earthquake.

While these earthquakes were not felt by many in the San Francisco Bay Area, there is a 62% probability that at least one earthquake of magnitude 6.7 or greater will occur on a known or unknown fault in the region before 2032, according to a report by the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Geological Survey.

"As Californians, we always have to be prepared for the next earthquake," said Gov. Gavin Newsom. The state is considered to be one of the three high-risk areas by the Department of Homeland Security, along with Alaska and the Mississippi Valley.

Before and earthquake, some steps to take for safety include strengthening the building, securing objects that might fall and gathering critical documents like identification, legal and medical files, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Assembling an emergency supply kit should also be a priority, and FEMA recommends having these items in the kit:

- Water: Make sure you have a gallon per person per day for at least three days

- Food: Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods, including infant formula and pet food

- Flashlight, radio and cell phone charger

- Medical: Include a first aid kit and both prescription and over-the-counter medications

- Sanitation supplies

- Assistive technology: Include battery backup power for power-dependent mobility devices, oxygen and other assistive technology needs

- Clothing and blankets

- Whistle: Include a whistle to signal for help

- Fire extinguisher

- Cash: Store cash in case ATMs are not functioning after the earthquake.

Visit www.ready.gov/earthquakes to learn more about earthquakes and resources available before, during and after one.

— Bay City News Service

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