As with earthquakes of the past, recent seismic activity around the globe has spawned recent unofficial and misleading “predictions” of large-scale disaster being imminent within specific hours or on a particular day. While these types of non-peer-reviewed predictions surface following disasters such as earthquakes, the Internet has provided a medium through which misinformation can spread faster and more widely than ever before.
The latest online rumors predicting that a magnitude 5.0-6.5 quake will strike California within the next 48 hours have been widely circulated through popular social networking Web sites such as Twitter and Facebook. However, Californians are being cautioned against buying into misinformation.
“Although the broad scientific community has been working relentlessly to give us better information about earthquakes and their behavior, being able to predict when earthquakes will strike is not something they can do at this point,” says Cal EMA Secretary Matt Bettenhausen. “The fact is that we live in a very seismically active state where an earthquake may occur any time. That means we must take steps now to prepare for any event,” said Bettenhausen.
One of the most common and essential items one can assemble to prepare for a disaster is an Emergency Preparedness Kit. This kit would contain enough food, water and supplies to sustain each member of a household for a minimum of 72 hours. A battery-powered radio is also essential.
Developing a Family Emergency Plan with evacuation routes and important contact information is another tool for keeping you and your family safe in an emergency.
“Rumors can be scary, but being prepared is something that can truly help you feel better about your ability to survive the next big quake,” said Bettenhausen.
For more information about common earthquake misconceptions and how you can prepare, visit www.calema.ca.gov, www.myhazards.calema.ca.gov/, www.ready.gov, www.scec.org, www.conservation.ca.gov and www.earthquake.usgs.gov/prepare.