Tips to Prepare for and Recover from an Earthquake in the Palo Alto Area
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto gives advice on preparing for earthquakes and recovering from the resulting property damage.
SERVPRO of Palo Alto is prepared to deal with the complex property damage disaster resulting from an earthquake, including fire and smoke damage, water damage, sewage spills, mold infestation, and biohazard cleanup. In a large-scale disaster such as an earthquake, the proper training, the right equipment, and experienced and certified technicians are essential for a safe, fast, and thorough property damage cleanup and restoration after an earthquake.
Palo Alto is located near major geologic faults. This close proximity to these geologic hazards puts the city and its inhabitants at risk of personal injury and extensive property damage in the event of a major earthquake. This natural disaster risk hazard highlights the importance of being prepared.
Recent earthquakes in Southern California reinforce the need for Palo Alto residents to educate themselves on how to prepare for a sudden emergency such as an earthquake that interrupts utilities and disrupts the supply chain of goods and services to the affected areas.
Palo Alto’s location near eight major faults, including the Hayward and San Andreas faults, elevates the likelihood of an earthquake disaster. An aging and stressed infrastructure will likely suffer a more severe impact from a local seismic event.
Local officials describe the situation, stating, “Palo Alto is different from some other places because we are much denser and our buildings are older. As such, a 7.1 earthquake would be very dangerous in our area and most likely not result in zero injuries and deaths.”
A risk assessment of the city’s vulnerability identifies three serious consequences of a powerful earthquake. Critical infrastructure would be crippled. Property damage, especially fires, would be a likely consequence. First responders would be unable to get to work, let alone stage and deploy to meet essential needs. These factors further demonstrate the need for residents to be prepared for an earthquake disaster.
Tips to Prepare for an Earthquake Disaster
1. Create a Ready Plan.
A well-rounded disaster preparation and survival plan accomplish many goals. Residents who have a plan know what to do and how to react in the event of an earthquake. After the earthquake, they will have the basic supplies needed to survive if the infrastructure fails and the supply chain collapses. A solid plan can give a family or business the assurance and confidence needed to overcome the challenges presented by a major catastrophe such as an earthquake.
Components of this plan should include the following action steps:
- Identify safe areas in each room.
- Conduct training sessions on the “drop, cover, and hold on” method for earthquake survival.
- Purchase and learn how to use a fire extinguisher.
- Know how to shut off utilities such as water, electricity, and natural gas.
- Designate a safe meeting place to gather at after the earthquake.
- Have an online and an offline communication strategy that involves cell phones, walkie-talkies, and written notes.
2. Stay alert and informed.
Connect to the information stream by registering for AlertSCC, the emergency notification system that sends out alerts to Santa Clara County residents, businesses, and employees. Visit the city’s website for updates. Call the emergency hotline at (650)-329-2420 for pre-recorded updates.
3. Stockpile survival supplies.
These supplies include first aid items, a solar-powered emergency radio, an alternate energy source, non-perishable foodstuffs, drinking water, a water filter, medications, and hygiene products.
4. Network and volunteer.
Community will be the key to overcoming the challenges resulting from a natural disaster such as an earthquake. A wide array of volunteer organizations is available for interested residents who want to make a difference.
Tips for Recovering from an Earthquake
Preparation prior to an earthquake is necessary for safety, security, and survival. When the earthquake is over, recovery becomes a top priority. As with any disaster, large or small, cleanup and restoration are essential to recovery. Efforts to contact and qualify a reputable, competent property damage restoration company can prove futile in the chaos, confusion, and stress of an earthquake or other natural disaster.
The best course of action is to pre-qualify a property damage restoration company as a part of the Ready Plan. Listed below are some crucial points to consider.
- The company should be a reputable, trusted member of the business community.
- Technicians should have multiple certifications in areas such as water damage cleanup, fire and smoke damage cleanup, sewage cleanup, and biohazard cleanup. They should also use the best equipment, latest technology, and advanced cleaning and restoration techniques.
- The company needs to be able to scale to the size of the disaster. A company like SERVPRO of Palo Alto has a nationwide network of SERVPRO franchisees to call upon for assistance. An army of support can be quickly and efficiently mobilized and dispatched to the disaster area.
- Make sure that the restoration company can handle the insurance claims process from start to finish. A reputable company will conduct a thorough inspection of the property, assess the damage, and provide a detailed estimate documented with written notes, photos, and video.
- Choose a company that is available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays and natural disasters. A rapid response can avoid advanced secondary damage such as mold, structural damage, and contamination from gray and black water.
SERVPRO of Palo Alto is locally owned and operated, and technicians understand the benefits and complexities of living in a beautiful city in an earthquake-prone region of California.