The Big One?


Much has been written already about the possibility of a large earthquake – “The Big One” – in California originating at the San Andreas Fault.  Scientists specializing in the field, with many years of study and observation are of the common mind that California is overdue for a magnitude 7.0 earthquake since there have not been enough powerful earthquakes in the past 100 years along California’s highest slip-rate faults.

Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, a professor at the City College of New York has warned that California is overdue a catastrophic earthquake unlike any seismic activity seen in recent years. The question remains, will a big earthquake hit California? If you live in California, you have been warned that the Big One is coming, a powerful earthquake of up to magnitude eight is headed for the state and perhaps will tear through southern California like the magnitude 7.0 quake that hit in 1857 and ruptured some 225 miles of the San Andreas Fault.  So while this part of the San Andreas Fault could be overdue for a large earthquake, it’s also possible it could be decades before the Big One hits.  Of the identified gaps between earthquakes, three took longer than 160 years to strike this part of the San Andreas again. 

These forecasts emanate from seismologists that have made their life’s work studying the behavior of the planet earth, using the most modern and updated equipment.  Their predictions are to be taken seriously and we need to prepare for a disaster.

Start out by obtaining a list of basic items that are required in the event of an emergency.  Sit down with your family and review these items and the most practical manner in which you can address them so that everyone is on the same page.  It does no good to have one member of the family unilaterally fill out a list if nobody else participates in this effort.  Every family has different needs so remember that a pre-printed list is just a guide.

Water is the most basic resource needed primarily for drinking and cooking, but allowing water to sit for long periods of time waiting for the Big One when the time comes, the water will no longer be fit to drink.  Stop drinking tap water and rather have on hand at least 5 five-gallon bottles that will be recirculating as you drink from them which will guarantee that you will always have fresh drinking water. 

Remember that preparing for any disaster has to be done as a family or group because survival may depend on everyone playing an active part. Figure out what is important to you and act upon it. Talk about your options in packing and transporting these emergency items. Identify which members of the family or group are to be responsible for what, from the youngest to the oldest. Remember that there may be no public emergency services available for some time and that you will be on your own. Stay as close to your familiar surroundings as safely feasible and remember not to panic.

Natural disasters occur worldwide and people perish or survive depending on their levels of development, infrastructure and preparation. Stay safe.


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