I was born and raised in California. I’ve lived through my fair share of earthquakes both large and small…mostly small. Still, after living in the Midwest for almost a year and a half, I prefer to take my chances with an earthquake rather than a blizzard or thunderstorm. Why? Because in the scheme of things big, disruptive earthquakes are a rarity.
Note: Earthquakes DO NOT HAVE SEASONS
Sure this list of earthquakes on the Sacramento Bee’s website looks frighteningly long, but most of those quakes no one even remembers. A 3.0 quake is not historic. It’s a tiny earth fart. An earthquake off the coast is almost like it didn’t happen.
Dumb lists aside, a decent size quake only happens once every 25 to 50 years or so in an area that causes fatalities or even a decent amount of damage. By damage I don’t mean bottles knocked to the ground off shelves, I mean structural integrity of roads and bridges compromised.
In fact, with the advent of stricter building codes, advances in engineering methods, and better preparedness, an earthquake under 6.0 is really not a big deal.
Most of the preparedness is common sense. Don’t hang anything over your bed. Don’t hang anything over where you might be sitting or laying down. Have fresh batteries in your home in case the power goes out. Make sure bookcases are either secured to the wall or if they fall over aren’t going to smash you. Some people will even install baby locks on upper cabinets not because they have little ones, but because they know the doors will stay closed when the shaking starts. I’ve even seen special shelf liner that is supposed to help keep glassware from being knocked over.
Growing up, any time there was a minor earthquake, the local media would remind everyone what to do in case a big one hit. I used to think it was dumb to constantly remind everyone how to be safe whenever a 3.0 shook some random town in the middle of the coastal range, but after reading my Facebook feed this morning after the Napa quake, I now understand why they do it.
Many people move to California and don’t know what to do in the event of an earthquake. They didn’t grow up with the knowledge pounded into their brains like I did. I take this knowledge for granted, but I’m glad that I know it. Why? Because of this knowledge, earthquakes don’t scare me as much as having to drive on icy roads with a bunch of idiots. That happens every freaking year for months at a time!