Shopping for water

Maria Morales pushes a cart filled with cases of water after shopping at Costco in Fontana on July 6.  She said her family members buy lots of water as part of their commitment to being prepared for the possibility of an earthquake.  (Contributed photo by Mike Myers)

Many people routinely buy extra cases of bottled water during the summer months because of the hotter temperatures. But now, local residents have an extra incentive for purchasing water -- the threat of earthquakes.

Over the past month, more than 1,000 small earthquakes have hit southern Fontana. As if that weren't enough to scare many people, two huge earthquakes -- measuring 6.4 and 7.1 -- have rocked Southern California in recent days.

The giant quakes were centered near Ridgecrest in Kern County and Trona in northwestern San Bernardino County. Fortunately, no fatalities have been reported, but a state of emergency was declared in that area, and the quakes served as a warning to residents of the rest of the state, including Fontana and other nearby cities: Be prepared.

At the Fontana Costco store on July 6, water -- one of the most basic items to keep stored as part as part of earthquake readiness -- was being purchased by numerous customers, including Maria Morales of Rialto.

Morales has eight people living in her house, and as a family, they talk regularly about "being prepared and having a plan."

"We have been preparing since 2017 for the big one," she said.

Her earthquake kit includes non-perishable foods and first aid supplies in addition to lots of water.

Experts say there are many essential ways to stay safe when an earthquake threatens. Here are tips from

----- Prepare NOW

Secure items, such as televisions, and objects that hang on walls. Store heavy and breakable objects on low shelves.

Practice Drop, Cover, then Hold On with family and coworkers. Drop to your hands and knees. Cover your head and neck with your arms. Crawl only as far as needed to reach cover from falling materials. Hold on to any sturdy furniture until the shaking stops.

Create a family emergency communications plan that has an out-of-state contact. Plan where to meet if you get separated.

Make a supply kit that includes enough food and water for at least three days, a flashlight, a fire extinguisher, and a whistle. Consider each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment.

Consider obtaining an earthquake insurance policy. Standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover earthquake damage.

Consider a retrofit of your building to correct structural issues that make it vulnerable to collapse during an earthquake.

----- Survive DURING

Drop, Cover, then Hold On like you practiced. Drop to your hands and knees. Cover your head and neck with your arms. Hold on to any sturdy furniture until the shaking stops. Crawl only if you can reach better cover without going through an area with more debris.

If in bed, stay there and cover your head and neck with a pillow.

If inside, stay there until the shaking stops. DO NOT run outside.

If in a vehicle, stop in a clear area that is away from buildings, trees, overpasses, underpasses, or utility wires.

If you are in a high-rise building, expect fire alarms and sprinklers to go off. Do not use elevators.

If near slopes, cliffs, or mountains, be alert for falling rocks and landslides.

----- Be Safe AFTER

Expect aftershocks to follow the largest shock of an earthquake.

Check yourself for injury and provide assistance to others if you have training.

If in a damaged building, go outside and quickly move away from the building.

Do not enter damaged buildings.

If you are trapped, cover your mouth. Send a text, bang on a pipe or wall, or use a whistle instead of shouting so that rescuers can locate you.

If you are in an area that may experience tsunamis, go inland or to higher ground immediately after the shaking stops.

Save phone calls for emergencies.

Once safe, monitor local news reports via battery operated radio, TV, social media, and cell phone text alerts for emergency information and instructions.

Use extreme caution during post-disaster clean-up of buildings and around debris. Do not attempt to remove heavy debris by yourself. Wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work gloves, and sturdy, thick-soled shoes during clean-up.

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