In the wake of this past weekend's earthquake near Napa, Hollister Fire Chief Michael O'Connor posted the following message on his Facebook account, encouraging local residents to be earthquake-ready in San Benito County:
As many of you may be aware, there was a 6.0 earthquake that hit Napa around 3:00 am this morning. Though larger (5.0+) aftershocks are predicted over the next few days, it is not likely that they will be this far South. However, I would encourage each of you to seize this opportunity to make/reinforce your personal or family earthquake preparedness plan and develop or update your earthquake preparedness kits.
1. Come up with an evacuation plan. (Make sure that paths out of your house are clear of objects that could possibly fall and block your path.
2. Place any large or heavy objects on lower shelves of cabinets and bookcases.
3. Practice an emergency escape plan with all family members and make sure everyone knows where to meet if you are separated. To commit your plan to memory it is best to practice the emergency route at least twice a year, more often if you have younger children.
4. Have at least one emergency kit prepared. American Red Cross provides details of what to include in it, see the link below.
Prepare your house:
1. Fix any lose cabinet latches or bolts. Install child safety locks on at least the upper kitchen cabinets. These were originally designed to limit child access into cabinets, but are also a good way to prevent cabinets from flying open during an earthquake. I use these in my own home.
2. Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home, keeping a wrench near it for easy access. However, make sure that you turn it off only if you have identified a gas leak.
3. Secure bookcases or other larger objects to the wall. (Bracing for this is inexpensive and can be found at your local hardware store.)
For more information, the American Red Cross has published a resource guide with more detailed information.
The American Red Cross has also published several smart phone apps to help prepare for earthquakes, wildfires, pet emergencies, etc. They can be found by searching "American Red Cross" in Google Play store or the app store.