By Chloe Saunders
Due to a series of recent earthquakes that rocked Southern California, officials statewide are encouraging citizens to prepare for what is known as the “Big One,” an earthquake speculated to have a large enough magnitude to devastate the entire western coast of the continental U.S.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are approximately 500,000 earthquakes in the world every year. In southern California alone there are roughly 10,000 earthquakes each year with several hundred above a magnitude 3.0 and only 15-20 above a magnitude 4.0.
In a recent study published at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, it has been discovered that earthquakes are occurring deeper in the earth than previously believed. A concern regarding this new information is that earthquakes have the ability to occur more than 15 miles below the surface, while conventional seismic sensors can only reach about 12 to 15 miles underground.
With the U.S. Geological Suvrvey also debunking the common myth of earthquake weather”the idea that earthquakes are caused by certain types of weather”seismic activities are proving to be more unclear.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has reported that the best way to prepare for earthquakes is by taking certain safety precautions.
Individuals should be cautious and aware of any unstable objects that may fall or cause a safety hazard to people or their property.
Periodic family drills can also be practiced to ensure safety, along with a list of addresses, telephone numbers and evacuation sites for all places that family members are located regularly.
Training in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation from the American Red Cross can be beneficial in the chance that there might be a medical emergency. Citizens are encouraged to recognize how and when to call 9-1-1, utilize a fire extinguisher and understand the mechanics behind house utilities to prevent post-earthquake fires.
Cal Poly Pomona has also taken steps to ensure that students can feel safe on campus in the event of an earthquake.
“Next Thursday is the Great California Shake Out at 10:20 a.m”It is another opportunity to prepare the campus and simulate an earthquake,” stated Rufus Gant, the interim executive director of Institutional Risk at CPP.
In addition, the University Police Department’s Annual Security Report laid out steps to take during an earthquake for students, staff and faculty.
Some steps listed in the report include staying away from windows or objects that could fall, seeking shelter under a desk or table and proceeding with caution until the shaking stops.
Individuals outside of CPP are recommended to stay in an open area away from buildings and power lines. People who are in vehicles are advised to stop as far from traffic as possible without going under bridges, trees, signs or street lights.
Building evacuation is not immediate, but if necessary, evacuation will be led by emergency personnel guided by the police and parking services. It is encouraged to use the closest exit and avoid elevators in the case of an evacuation.
The campus also utilizes the Safety Alert System, which is an emergency messaging system that sends out e-mails, texts and phone calls to communicate during emergencies. CPP is also involved in an annual practice of earthquake safety drills.
As the campus prepares for the upcoming event, students are reminded that their chance to practice for an emergency is approaching.
“I think the shake out drills will help people prepare and raise more awareness for these possible disasters,” said Melissa Francis, third-year psychology student. “These drills are forewarning people and indeed making them feel more safe by being ready for real life situations. It is also a great effort to even save lives in the future.”
As the possibility of an earthquake approaches, CPP’s iconic CLA building is taken into consideration. The building is built on the San Andreas Fault that is responsible for a portion of Southern California’s earthquakes.
According to Esther Chou Tanaka, director of Public Affairs, due to the lack of funds there is currently no specific timetable arranged to take down the building, but even as the school builds a new Student Services Building, campus officials encourage students to remain free of worry in the event of an earthquake.
Courtesy of Sungah Choi
Earthquakes in Southern California
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