Unpredictable Danger

 

Knowing when an earthquake is going to strike isn’t possible, but being prepared for it is

Trinity Advincula- De Los Angeles

Staff Writer

    Perhaps you fear tornadoes and hurricanes because of their large, screaming tunnels of air, but don’t let that underestimate the impact of an earthquake.

    California is an earthquake state, and we particularly have a lot of faults. The real danger about these, especially in California, aren’t necessarily the faults we do know of, but the ones we don’t know of. In addition, there is no clear tell-tale sign to predict an earthquake.

    “There is none to very little warning,” Ms. Wheaton, an APES teacher, said.

     Ms. Wheaton explains the devastating impact that it can have on the people who survive a severe earthquake.

    “I have lived through the Northridge and the Loma Prieta quakes,” Ms. Wheaton said. “Both created loss of life and significant infrastructure damage, yet Californians went through their normal life as much as possible.”

    Though the quaking may catch you off balance, the real danger is in destruction and failure of buildings. It can crush people and trap them if they collapse; not only is it hazardous for the people, but will also serve as a huge financial loss to those who owned or depended on the building. This is why California has stricter laws on building structures than maybe, a building in a hurricane state.

    “In California we actually have building codes to help us withstand earthquakes,” Ms. Leo, a Biology teacher, said. “I think newer buildings would be fine, older buildings would crumble.”

    Earthquakes happen frequently, but they come in small bursts. This brings us hopes that we won’t have a high-magnitude earthquake, but unfortunately, according to the recent Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF) it is pretty much guaranteed that we will have an earthquake of 6.7 or higher within the next 30 years. Having such a severe earthquake poses many problems that may occur and affect the people.

    “The question is, how long can people survive without water, power and do the sewer lines work?” Ms. Wheaton said.

    To minimize the impact of an earthquake disaster, both Ms. Leo and Ms. Wheaton recommend preparing for it beforehand. Things like food, water, a waste bucket, and such are essential, but also strictly enforcing building codes.

    “[We should] make sure that those [building] codes are followed so our buildings are earthquake proof” Ms. Leo said. “[And] to be prepared for the worst possible outcome by having a pack in case something happens and someone can’t get you, you can survive a couple days off of that.”

    There’s many faults around us, such as the Hayward fault, that are due for a big release of stress, which in result, could cause a high-magnitude earthquake. Though we don’t know when it’ll happen, it’s very important not to take it lightly, and to be prepared.

    “[The thing about earthquakes] is you never know,” Ms. Leo said. “Guessing and predicting is hard.”

    

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