If you have been hearing about the “ring of fire” lately — the chain of volcanoes and fault lines that surround the Pacific Ocean and stretch from Southeast Asia up to Japan, Russia and Alaska, and back down the coast to South America — it is because it has become a bit more active than usual.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a swarm of small earthquakes rattled parts of central California during the early hours of Wednesday.
The largest struck in Sonoma County and registered 5.0 on the Richter scale. A magnitude 3.9 quake struck the Mammoth Lakes area and was followed by a series of smaller aftershocks.
Another 3.9 quake hit the town of Templeton along the central coast. There have not been any reports of deaths or major damage, though that could change as more information comes in.
This came just about a week after a 6.5 magnitude quake struck off the coast of northern California, initially prompting fears of a tsunami that were quickly put to rest, according to Reuters.
The U.S. Geological Survey has provided an interactive map showing the multitude of earthquakes around the world, most never reported as they are too small to be felt or cause significant damage.
Nevertheless, there remains the constant and quiet fear that “The Big One” is right around the corner, a massively destructive major quake that will unfortunately claim innocent lives.
However, there are a few things people can do to prepare themselves for an earthquake that could come at any time with no warning.
The Red Cross has put out a list of safety and preparedness tips regarding quakes, most notable of which were to familiarize oneself with the relevant evacuation and safety plans for one’s particular building and city.
They suggested taking cover beneath sturdy furniture or along an interior wall of a home for the greatest protection, and even suggested bolting or otherwise securing furniture, bookcases, cabinet doors and other items around the house to prevent as much extraneous movement as possible.
It was also recommended that one keep tools handy and familiarize oneself with how to turn off the gas and water flowing into the house, in case those lines are damaged.
It also isn’t a bad idea to keep a flashlight handy in case the shaking occurs at night, and of course it is wise to keep items like water and food stocked to last for several days in the event that a quake causes such damage as to disrupt the normal everyday functions of a city.
Of course there are plenty of other things people can do to prepare themselves for an earthquake, but that in itself is the key — preparedness. Don’t be caught unprepared in an emergency, lest you find yourself having to rely on government aid and assistance that may not be forthcoming as quickly as some people generally assume.
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