Earthquakes abound, ABAG can help you prepare

By Mark Prado
Loma Prieta earthquake damage

Earthquakes are hitting all over the state of late and the Association of Bay Area Governments wants you to prepare.

An online tool from ABAG is available to help residents identify potential earthquake-related damage to their homes and provides information on how to gird against the next big temblor.

The Earthquake Home Quiz can be accessed at ABAG’s Resilience Program’s website along with a downloadable PDF of the Earthquake Field Guide to help assess potential impacts of earthquakes. 

The U.S. Geological Survey has determined there is a 72 percent of at least one earthquake of magnitude 6.7 or greater striking somewhere in the Bay Area in the next 30 years.  It’s the continual movement of the Earth’s plates against each other that causes energy to build. When the plates slip, energy is released and earthquakes result. In the Bay Area’s case, it’s the Pacific Plate moving northwest past the North American Plate that puts pressure along the faults in the region.

The quiz allows residents to gain insight into seismic safety, whether they are in a single-family home, apartment building or mobile home. The types of housing in the region are as diverse as the Bay Area itself and the quiz allows residents to explore the resilience of their particular type of home.

The online tools come against the backdrop of updated ABAG estimates of housing losses in the region as a result of a large-scale earthquake.  The ABAG data tell a compelling and personal story about the Bay Area’s potential future after an earthquake: How many buildings will be damaged? How many households will be displaced? And how many residents will be seeking shelter? 

ABAG’s newest estimates of housing losses provide a significant update to the last such data released in 2003 with the latest figures reflecting current housing stock and the Bay Area’s present population.