Living in California has many benefits, but unfortunately, earthquakes are not one of them.
We know that earthquakes are always a risk in our day-to-day lives and must be mindful that one can occur at any moment.
According to the L.A. Times, there were more than 700 earthquakes recorded in the Fontana area since May 25, ranging in magnitudes from 0.7 to 3.2. While this is cause for concern, it is not cause for alarm.
Renowned seismologist Lucy Jones named the quakes the “Fontana trend” even though they were not centered in Fontana. She tweeted out this post on May 29: “This is the Fontana trend -- a perennial hotspot of small quakes, including a M3.1 in Jan 2018 and a M3.6 in July 2018. And when it has quakes, they are usually in clusters like this. In other words, ordinary common California quakes.”
Ordinary or not, I want to assure you that the City of Fontana is prepared in the event of any disaster, but I encourage each of you to have an emergency plan in place.
This recent earthquake swarm serves as an important reminder to have an emergency plan that includes a supply kit with enough food, water, and medications to get you through at least 72 hours and a communications plan to notify your loved ones of your status.
It is also a reminder to secure heavy objects to your walls and remove objects that can fall around beds and couches.
San Bernardino County Assistant Fire Chief for Division 1, Jeff Birchfield, even advises everyone, if possible, to have emergency gas shutoff wrenches near their gas meter.
----- I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOU to download the free Ready SB County app. The app is easy to download from your mobile device by simply going to http://readydl.com/san-bernardino-county.
The app will help you prepare and plan for how to respond to a disaster in our area. The app features the following functions:
• Share your status with your selected contacts with the push of a button.
• Receive critical emergency alerts via push notification.
• Locate San Bernardino County's emergency shelters.
• View up-to-date evacuation route maps.
• Get the latest news and weather for the San Bernardino County area.
• Create a personalized Emergency Preparedness Plan by answering five basic questions.
Once Your Plan is generated, it is stored on your smartphone and can easily be shared with family members and friends. Your Plan comprises:
• An Emergency Supply Kit Checklist tailored to your needs.
• A Customized Emergency Food Supply Shopping List.
• An Emergency Communications Plan to notify your loved ones of your status.
• Critical information to prepare your home for an impending disaster.
----- IN THE EVENT of a citywide disaster, the City of Fontana will activate its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) located in the Fontana Police Department.
The EOC serves as the hub for coordinating, planning, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts. The center allows for decision makers and response team personnel to come together and respond to the emergency in one place. It is equipped with technology that allows for effective communication across interdepartmental lines and with responders in the field.
Additionally, city staff, including our public safety responders, participate in emergency drills utilizing the EOC to integrate the latest training strategies to best serve the community.
The City wrapped up its Building and Safety Month activities in May to bring awareness to the role that city staff plays in ensuring our buildings are earthquake proof and adhere to state building codes to ensure public safety. Since the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the state adopted new building codes for all new commercial and residential construction to withstand up to a magnitude 8 earthquake and minimize damage.
In addition, City of Fontana Building and Safety inspectors are required to get “post disaster” certified every five years. They are trained to inspect all structures after a major earthquake and know what to look for to determine if buildings are structurally sound.
The City of Fontana also participates in the Great California ShakeOut annually to promote the practice of drop, cover and hold on with its staff and our community at large through a series of social media posts and community announcements. There are many resources available by visiting www.shakeout.org/california.
The City of Fontana is doing everything within its power to keep you and your families safe in the event of an earthquake by participating in ongoing training and ensuring that all construction adheres to state standards to withstand a powerful earthquake. But it is critical for you to do your part by having an emergency plan in place.
When it comes to emergency response, we are in this together. Let's not wait for another earthquake to strike. Take the first step toward earthquake preparedness by downloading the Ready SB County app today.
(Acquanetta Warren is the mayor of Fontana.)