A 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck the Los Angeles area Friday, March 28th, damaging homes and breaking water mains. The 10-second shake rattled the epicenter of Orange County, mostly in the city of La Habra and Fullerton. Shortly after the earthquake, the jolt continued with two smaller foreshocks (Foreshocks are earthquakes which occur immediately preceeding a mainshock in the exact same area in which the mainshock occured) and more than one hundred aftershocks.

Fortunately, there were no serious injuries or deaths, but there were substantial damages in the residential areas. Many people evacuated and were displaced after their homes were damaged. In local supermarkets, products toppled out of the shelves and scattered to the floor. Even a car was upturned by a rockslide.

Experts said the earthquake struck on a dangerous fault situated in Puente Hills and could lead to a possible 7.5 magnitude shake, which will affect the San Gabriel Valley, Downtown, Los Angeles and Hollywood. According to the USGS (United States Geological Survey) and the Southern California Earthquake Center, in a worst-case scenario, the fault is estimated to kill around 3,000 to 18,000 people and could result in over $250 billion damages with 750,000 households left homeless.

This was a serious wake up call to the residents of LA and I've complied a list of 10 things you can do to prepare for the big one.

1. Keep and maintain an emergency supply kit in an easy-to-access location.
-- An emergency supply kit should include water bottles, nonperishable or canned food, flashlight or candles, extra batteries, first aid kit, local street maps, etc. Also be prepared to take important documents or licenses. Make your own kit ( how to make and maintain your kit) or order one on websites like earthquakestore.com or amazon.com.

2. Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
-- Be aware of any objects near your sleeping area and store breakable or hazardous items such as glass bottles inside a low, closed cabinet. 

3. Create an evacuation plan or become aware of fire evacuation and earthquake safety plans for all of the buildings you occupy regularly.
-- Create a safety plan to exit a building or house with family members or office workers.

4. Practice “drop, cover and hold”.
--Be aware of your surroundings and know where and when to take action.

5. Know how to turn off your gas and water mains.
-- Know where it is and always keep a wrench handy for that purpose.

6. Inspect buildings for hazards.

7. Install strong latches on kitchen cabinets.
 -- When an actual earthquake hits, items inside cabinets are likely to fall down. 

8. Be ready to extinguish fires.
--Place a fire extinguisher in a recognizable space and know how to use it.

9. Subscribe to Alert Services.
-- Download a smartphone application that could notify you when the earthquake hits. 
    Get the Red Cross Earthquake Alert App here.

10. Learn about earthquakes.
   --Keep yourself knowledgeable about earthquakes and know what to do when it happens. You can   find more information here.

Most importantly: Keep calm during the earthquake!

- Si Eun -


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