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1906 San Francisco Earthquake Anniversary Serves As Reminder To Be Prepared For Next Big One

by Jocelyn Moran

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Monday marks 116 years since the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, ranked as one of the most significant earthquakes of all time by the U.S. Geological Survey. Now it serves as a reminder of the need to be prepared.

"We live in earthquake country, there have been big earthquakes in the past, there will be big earthquakes in our future," said Keith Knudsen, the deputy director of the USGS Earthquake Science Center.

Knudsen said during earthquake anniversaries, he revisits his earthquake plan.

"Are you going to have a way to contact the rest of your family? Do you have an assembly point?" he said.

Faith Meacham moved to San Francisco from out of state about a year ago.

"I definitely thought about it when I was looking for apartments. I was like, `Do I want an older build? Newer build? Which one is safer?' But since moving, I haven't really thought about it too much," she said.

Knudsen said that's not a bad idea.

"That's actually one of my favorite recommendations. I encourage people to investigate the buildings in which they and their families spend time in," said Knudsen. "If your kids go to school, has the school been evaluated? Are they safe, Is your home safe? Is your apartment building safe?"

Other things to think about include having an earthquake kit ready to go.

The California Residential Mitigation Program offers recommendations that include:
• 3-day supply of water for each member of your family
• 3-day supply of nonperishable food
• First aid kids for your home and cars
• 3-day supply of food and water for your pets
• Flashlights in every room with extra batteries
• Power packs for phones
• Prescription medications
• Whistle
• Swiss Army knife
• Copies of personal documents
• Extra pair of eyeglasses
• Small cash bills

Knudsen said something he thinks about when thinking about the 1906 earthquake was the damage from the fires triggered by the earthquake.

"If we have big earthquakes anywhere in the Bay Area, anywhere in California, there will be fires so it pays to learn things like how do you shut the gas off to your house?," Knudsen said. "Is your water heater strapped? Are there flexible lines to your gas appliances? Anything you can do to make where you spend time more resistant to fire hazards."

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