Earthquakes

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GET PREPARED!    LEARN USEFUL SKILLS!

PROTECT YOUR FAMILY AND NEIGHBORHOOD! 

Classes forming now!  Register for free preparedness classes:


Community Emergency Response Team Training
– one intensive weekend will teach you basic disaster response skills such as disaster first-aid, fire safety, light search and rescue, and organizing a community team. Everyone receives a free backpack with helmet, gloves, and vital supplies after completing the full class**.  Ideal for individuals, community groups and homeowner’s associations.  Training is culturally sensitive and respectful. 

Dates: Friday, October 2nd (6:00-9:00 pm); Saturday October 3rd (8:00 am-5:00 pm); and Sunday, October 4th (8:00 am-5:00 pm)

Location: Union City CERT training building, 33555 Central Avenue, Union City (behind Fire Station #31)      

To register for Union City’s October 2015 CERT class, please click here. You can also register by calling (510) 675-5401 and leave a voicemail by email at cert@unioncity.org.

For specific information on Union City’s CERT program, please click here, and for general information on CERT please click here.

For general information on CERT please click here.

**Back packs will  be issued to all participants who complete all 20 hours of training AND complete/turn in to ACFD the IS 317 certificate from FEMA.

Personal Emergency Preparedness Workshopthis fun, one-hour class will teach you how to develop a family emergency and evacuation plan, identify potential dangers in the home, build an emergency kit, and learn to manage utilities after an earthquake. 

Date:   Tuesday, September 29th (7:00-8:00 pm)

Location:         Mark Green Sports Center, 31224 Union City Boulevard, Union City

To register for Union City’s September 2015 PEP class, please click here, or you can call (510) 632-3437, ext. 1721 to register by phone.

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Earthquakes can strike at any time.  In fact, there are thousands of earthquakes every year in the U.S., most so small that people don’t notice them.  In California there is a 1 in 3 chance of a destructive earthquake the same size as the 1994 Northridge quake occurring in the next 30 years, and there is a 90% chance that a major earthquake will occur along the Hayward Fault, which passes through Union City.  It could be years away or it could happen tomorrow, there’s no way to tell. 

The damage caused by a major earthquake will shut-down or severely restrict communications, transportation and utilities.  Emergency response personnel will likely be overwhelmed by calls for assistance and may be unable to respond to many requests during the first days of the disaster. The ability of individuals, families, neighbors and businesses to help themselves and each other cope during this time will be crucial to their recovery.

At the time of a disaster, shelter locations and other vital information will be announced over major radio stations including KCBS 740AM.  Remember to keep a portable radio and extra batteries stored in your emergency supplies kit so you can get emergency information in the event of a power failure, and you might also want to keep an extra cell phone and charging cable.

Currently there are no systems in place to detect an earthquake and warn you in advance, so you need to prepare yourself now for The Big One.  To get started, take a look at the simple actions you can do before, during and after an earthquake: 

What to do Before an Earthquake

Consider signing-up for Nixle, which is a free application that you can download to receive real-time alerts and important messages on your cell phone, from Union City and other local authorities.  And it is a good idea to learn practical survival skills by taking free Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training courses, offered throughout the year.  Contact the Alameda County Fire Department for additional information on free, personalized trainings. 

Take these steps NOW to help you prepare, survive and recover:

What to do During an earthquake

  • Drop, Cover and Hold On to reduce your chance of injury. 
    • DROP down onto your hands and knees (before the earthquake knocks you down). This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.
    • COVER your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk.  If there is no shelter nearby, only then should you get down near an interior wall (or next to low-lying furniture that won’t fall on you), and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
    • HOLD ON to your shelter (or to your head and neck) until the shaking stops.  Be prepared to move with our shelter if the shaking shifts it around.

      Indoors:  Drop, Cover, and Hold On Drop to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to it firmly. Be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops. If you are not near a desk or table, drop to the floor against the interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms. Avoid exterior walls, windows, hanging objects, mirrors, tall furniture, large appliances, and kitchen cabinets with heavy objects or glass. Do not go outside!

      In bed:  If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow. You are less likely to be injured staying where you are. Broken glass on the floor has caused injury to those who have rolled to the floor or tried to get to doorways.

      In a high-rise:  Drop, Cover, and Hold On. Avoid windows and other hazards. Do not use elevators. Do not be surprised if sprinkler systems or fire alarms activate.

      Outdoors:  Move to a clear area if you can safely do so; avoid power lines, trees, signs, buildings, vehicles, and other hazards.

      Driving:  Pull over to the side of the road, stop, and set the parking brake. Avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over. If a power line falls on the car, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.

      In a stadium or theater:  Stay at your seat and protect your head and neck with your arms. Don't try to leave until the shaking is over. Then walk out slowly watching for anything that could fall in the aftershocks.

      Near the shore:  Drop, Cover, and Hold On until the shaking stops. Estimate how long the shaking lasts. If severe shaking lasts 20 seconds or more, immediately evacuate to high ground as a tsunami might have been generated by the earthquake. Move inland 2 miles or to land that is at least 100 feet above sea level immediately. Don't wait for officials to issue a warning. Walk quickly, rather than drive, to avoid traffic, debris and other hazards.

      Below a dam:  Dams can fail during a major earthquake. Catastrophic failure is unlikely, but if you live downstream from a dam, you should know flood-zone information and have prepared an evacuation plan.

  • NOTE:  Do NOT run outside or to other rooms during shaking. The shaking can be so strong that you will not be able to move far without falling down and objects may fall or be thrown at you that you do not expect.  Injuries can be avoided if you drop to the ground before the earthquake drops you.
  • NOTE:  Do NOT stand in a doorway.  In modern houses, doorways are no stronger than other parts of the house, and the doorway does not protect you from the most likely source of injury – flying or falling objects.  You are safer under a table.
  • NOTE:  Do NOT get in the ‘triangle of life.’  In recent years, an email has been circulating which describes an alternative to the long-established ‘Drop, Cover and Hold On’ advice.  The so-called ‘triangle of life’ and other recommendations in the email are potentially life threatening, and the credibility of the source of these recommendations is broadly questioned. Don’t take chances, just Drop, Cover and Hold On.

What to do After an Earthquake

After the immediate threat of an earthquake has passed, your level of preparedness will determine your quality of life in the weeks and months that follow.

  • The moment the ground stops shaking it is important take action quickly and safely. Evacuate to higher ground if a tsunami is possible. If not, check for injuries and damages that need immediate attention. Use your training in first aid and assist those in need.
  • Look around your environment to identify any new hazards such as leaking gas lines, damage to the building, water or electric lines, or other things that may be dangerous, especially if there are aftershocks. Be prepared to report damage to the city.
  • First take care of your own situation. Remember your emergency plans. Aftershocks may cause additional damage or items to fall, so get to a safe location. Use your disaster supplies as needed.

When should you evacuate?:  If you are not near the shore where there is a risk of tsunami (tsunami waves can arrive within minutes), evacuate your home or office only if there is damage to the building or the surrounding area is unsafe. 

Go on foot; roads and bridges may be damaged.  If you need to evacuate to a shelter, take only your ‘grab and go’ bag with essentials such as medication, important documents, prescription eyewear, etc.  Shelters have limited space.

If you get trapped:  If you are trapped by falling items or a collapse, protect your mouth, nose, and eyes from dust. If you are bleeding, put pressure on the wound and elevate the injured part. Signal for help with your emergency whistle, a cell phone, or knock loudly on solid pieces of the building, three times every few minutes. Rescue personnel will be listening for such sounds.

Once you are safe, help others and check for damage. Protect yourself by wearing sturdy shoes and work gloves, to avoid injury from broken glass and debris. Also wear a dust mask and eye protection.

Help the injured:  Immediately check to see if anyone is injured, and if you have been trained in first aid, put your skills to use by assisting those in need.

  • Check your first aid kit or the front pages of your telephone book for detailed instructions on first aid measures.
  • If a person is bleeding, put direct pressure on the wound. Use clean gauze or cloth, if available.
  • If a person is not breathing, administer rescue breathing.
  • If a person has no pulse, begin CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
  • Treat anyone injured or traumatized for shock by keeping them warm with a blanket. Elevate their feet over their heart, as long as this does not interfere with their injuries.
  • Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
  • Cover injured persons with blankets or additional clothing to keep them warm.
  • Get medical help for serious injuries. Call 9-1-1 if available.
  • Carefully check children or others needing special assistance.

Prevent further injuries or damage:  Be prepared for aftershocks and stay away from anything that looks like it may fall.

  • Fire: If you are trained and have a fire extinguisher handy, put out small fires in your home or neighborhood immediately. Call for help, but don't wait for the fire department. Large fires are a sign to evacuate.
  • Gas Leaks:  Shut off the main gas valve only if you suspect a leak because of broken pipes, the odor or sound of leaking natural gas, or you see the meter spinning quickly. Only the gas company can turn the gas back on after they check for leaks, so shut it off only if necessary. The phone book has detailed information on this topic. Do not use candles or matches. You could start a fire and there may also be gas leaks. Use your flashlights, battery powered lights, and light sticks.
  • Damaged Electrical Wiring: Shut off power at the main breaker switch if there is any damage to your house wiring. Leave the power off until the damage is repaired.
  • Broken Lights and Appliances:  Unplug these as they could start fires when electricity is restored.
  • Downed Power Lines: If you see downed power lines, consider them energized and stay well away from them. Keep others away from them also. Never touch downed power lines or any objects in contact with them.
  • Fallen Items: Beware of items tumbling off shelves when you open the doors of closets and cupboards.
  • Spills: Use extreme caution. Clean up any spilled medicines, drugs, or other non-toxic substances. Potentially harmful materials such as bleach, lye, garden chemicals, and gasoline or other petroleum products should be isolated or covered with an absorbent such as dirt or cat litter. When in doubt, leave your home.
  • Damaged Masonry: Stay away from chimneys and walls made of brick or block. They may be weakened and could topple during aftershocks. Don't use a fireplace with a damaged chimney. It could start a fire or let poisonous gases into your home.

Let people know you are safe:  Phone service may be out. When possible, text or call your out-of-area contact and tell them where you are, THEN STAY OFF THE PHONE. This will allow calls to be made for emergencies.  Register on the Red Cross “Safe and Well” website so people will know you are okay.

Stay informed:  Surf the (battery-powered) radio dial to find a station that is on the air. Listen for public announcements and alerts. In the Bay Area KCBS 740AM is the designated emergency radio station.  Also, listen to your NOAA Weather Radio for emergency information.  Your smart phones and computers are a great resource for information, as long as you have power or can recharge your batteries.

For more information, please take a look at these websites and resources: