Preparing For "The Big One"

"could california fall intothe pacific ocean duringa bad earthquake?"

Um... I don't think that's going to happen, but if you're really worried about it, you're more than welcome to move back to Wisconsin where there's lots of cheese and snow. In fact, please do! Make traffic on the 101 Freeway less nightmarish for those of us who stay in this great state, okay?

It's true. A ginormous earthquake, AKA "The Big One", is gonna happen sometime in the future. And given that, I totally "get" why you're searching the Internet for "could california fall intothe pacific ocean duringa bad earthquake?".

Since your Google search led you to me, let me reassure you: During an earthquake, you and I are more likely to die from my collection of Depeche Mode records flying off a shelf and whacking us between the eyebrows than from this entire state and it's porn industry falling into the Pacific Ocean.

I only know this because last week I got invited to a "Disaster-Proof Your Home" session put on by the California Volunteers initiative "We Prepare". I trekked to blogger Queen of Spain's home and we spent the morning with amazingly knowledgeable Los Angeles Fire Captain, Stacy Gerlich. She runs the Community Emergency Preparedness Team (CERT) and trains folks on how they can prepare and keep themselves earthquake safe.

Captain Gerlich took us around Queen of Spain's house and pointed out easy safety improvements. For example, in a big earthquake, if you don't bolt your seven foot tall bookcase to the wall, it's gonna fall over.

I know, you don't want to bolt the bookcase because you don't want holes in the walls. You're thinking, "What if I wanna move it later?"

But as Captain Gerlich said, if you die because the bookcase falls on top of you, well, you're not gonna be able to move anything anyway so you might as well bolt it!

Yeah, I had a total crush on Captain Gerlich by the end of the morning because wowzer, she knows her stuff! She made me realize how really basic things like making an Emergency Plan, knowing how to turn off the gas and water in my apartment and latching my kitchen cabinets with safety locks can make a huge difference.

And where should I go if I'm standing in my living room and The Big One hits? Here's Captain Gerlich demonstrating:

As an added bonus, the California Volunteers folks generously decided to give me 12 disaster preparation kits to give away!

Even if you don't live here in California, you know earthquakes aren't the only disaster-game in town. Depending on where you live, you may also be BFF's with hurricanes, fires, tornadoes and severe rainstorms.

Given that you could easily be in an emergency, I know you want to win one of these nifty kits! They've got flashlights, water packs, food, whistles, an emergency blanket and some band-aids in them. Just be one of the first 12 to comment on this post, and be living in the Continental United States!

In the meantime, don't forget to make your Disaster Prep Plan and use some of the resources at the California Volunteers site to make your safer. Remember, even though California isn't falling into the Pacific, your bookcase can fall on you, so be prepared!


Liz Dwyer said…
If you are one of the first 12 commenters, email your snail mail address @
Anonymous said…
It's certainly worth preparing for an earthquake, I'm sure people get killed and injured from very simple mishaps they haven't guarded against. Like suddenly lethal Depeche Mode records. I've got some pretty tall bookshelves myself which are screwed to the wall precisely because I wouldn't want them to fall on me.
sippinwineman said…
I've always (maybe ignorantly) thought that most of SoCal would drop off or at least become, I dunno, like an island of sorts. ehem.

The safety tips though, are true as hell. If I lived on your side of this world, I'd have a stronger opinion.
Jessalyn said…
This would be great! E-mailing my address to you now.

Good point about the bookcase.
David Sullivan said…
I can think of worse ways to die than getting hit by a flying porn star!!!
Abigail said…
Liz, can I give mine to an LA friend?
Liz Dwyer said…
Those Mode records are killers, or so I've heard! ;) One of the things I learned from Captain Gerlich is that even low bookcases and desks are gonna move a LOT during a big earthquake. So some of the stuff I thought I didn't need to bolt down, I probably do!

We already are an island of sorts out here, even without the geographic separation, but apparently the way the plates move makes it impossible for us to break off officially.

BTW, are you entering to win? Email me your address if you are! :)

Got your address! I came away feeling like I have a LOT I need to do to get prepared but if it'll save my life or my kid's lives, I'm down for it!

Pray tell... what would those be? ;0

Email me your address if you want one of these kits to help you survive the next massive Nor'easter! :)

Absolutely! Email me her name and address! :)
Anonymous said…
desks? YIKES - I didn't think of desks....luckily, most of our house is pretty earthquake proof thanks to the babyproofing and the built-in's, but I didn't think of desks and other such furniture.

I have one disaster kit, but another would be great to have...sort of built-in back-up to the where to stash this one...:)
Karen said…
You can never be too prepared...that's my motto. (Not that I am)...thanks for the tips..I also highly recommend not having anything hard or sharp on the wall above your bed.....I always check in hotels when I travel in CA. Yes, I'm paranoid....
Coco said…
That is a wonderful idea and I applaud the individual who held the get together. It is great to prepare for a natural disaster--in my neck of the woods it's either a hurrican or a tornado.
Anne said…
I think it's a great idea to be prepared, it's something I rarely think about. I think I'm in the first 12 so I'm emailing my address!!!!
David Sullivan said…
Getting hit by a flying Rush Limbaugh...
Unknown said…
I've got three words for you: DUCK AND COVER! As a native Angeleno, that was drilled into us.
Anonymous said…
Makes since to be prepared. With all things going wrong in Cali today, we certainly don't NEED the big one to come now.
West said…
Nice one. That's great stuff.
Mes Deux Cents said…

Oh my am I too late? Lol I could really use one of those.

And thanks for this post I have a bookself that weighs about 75 pounds that I need to secure.
Jameil said…
i missed it1?!!? ARGH!!
Shiona said…
I'm trying to do a kit for everything. Wildfires, earthquakes. I will definitely be checking out the California Volunteers

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