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Preparing for shaky ground
Recent 3.4 earthquake was centered near Hesperia
Hesperia residents were shaken if they felt the 3.4 magnitude earthquake centered 8 miles east/southeast of Hesperia at 4:58 p.m. on Nov. 26.
According to Morgan Page, a geophysicist for the United States Geological Survey in Pasadena, the recent earthquake had the highest magnitude of the seven that have centered within a 12-mile radius of Hesperia this year. The others had magnitudes ranging from 1.7 to 1.85, four of which occurred within the last week of November.
Since 1980, there have been seven earthquakes within that radius starting at magnitude 3.0 — the largest a 3.7 occurred in August 2009. The others were a 3.4 in February 1990, a 3.4 in August 1998, a 3.5 in October 1999, a 3.0 in March 2001 and a 3.1 in August 2010, according to Page.
Local earthquakes are triggered by movement along the San Andreas fault. The San Andreas has two tectonic plates; the Pacific plate moves northwest, sliding past the North American plate, which moves southeast. During this movement, Page said the plates get stuck, and decades later when the stress becomes too great they release, causing an earthquake.
Although we are 15 miles northeast of the San Andreas fault, Page said the recent earthquake most likely occurred in the North Frontal fault zone, starting at the Cajon Pass, continuing through Hesperia and ending at the Helendale fault line east of Hesperia.
In the event of a major disaster, Brigit Bennington, emergency services coordinator for Hesperia, would activate the Emergency Operation Center. The job of the EOC would be to “manage the event on the inside,” Bennington said.
This would include providing and obtaining resources, enlisting the help of city departments such as public works to clear debris from streets, the Community Emergency Response Team to help evacuate those in need, code enforcement, sheriff’s and fire departments, and outside sources like the American Red Cross.
“Drop, cover and hold on,” Bennington said of what to do during an earthquake.
After a quake, Bennington said, “follow public warnings.” If a street is closed don’t drive on it. Also, check on neighbors that are elderly or have unique needs.
Bennington recommends Hesperia residents get trained for all hazards by taking the free 20-hour disaster preparedness course CERT offers. Dates in 2013 are tentatively: Mar. 7-9, May 16-18 and Sept. 19-21. Classes for groups such as churches, businesses or mobile home parks can be made available.
For more information, contact Bennington at (760) 947-1245 or email her at BBennington@CityOfHesperia.us.
While the recent Hesperia-centered earthquake was small, authorities suggest taking the jolt as a reminder to prepare in case a larger quake strikes.
Officials recommend that all families have an evacuation plan and a prearranged meet-up spot.
Also, you should secure heavy furniture and potentially dangerous items.
These supplies should be stored away:
• Seven-day food supply
• One gallon of water per person per day
• First aid kit, fire extinguisher
• Portable radio with batteries
• Blankets, clothes, shoes
• Money, medication
• Wrench to turn off gas and water
• Medication and food for unique family needs like infants or pets
• Important family documents
During an earthquake, if you’re:
• Inside: Get under a sturdy table.
• Outside: Find an open area; avoid buildings, trees and power lines.
• Driving: Pull over and stay in the car.
After a quake:
• Check for injuries and call for help if needed.
• Listen to radio for news and instructions.
• Check home for damage or fires.
• Turn off gas valve and shut off damaged utilities as needed.
For more tips, visit www.cityofhesperia.us or www.sbcfire.org.