Following a 6.4-magnitude earthquake on July 4 and a 7.1-magnitude one the following day — 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 percent 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,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said. 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 an earthquake, some steps to take for safety include strengthening buildings, securing objects that might fall and gathering critical documents like personal 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; also a flashlight, radio and cellphone 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; also 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.