Noe Valley Voice April 1998

Earthquake Preparedness

Quake Quiz: When did the two most destructive earthquakes in recent San Francisco history occur? Answer: The 75-second Great Earthquake and Fire began in the pre-dawn -- at 5:12 a.m. -- of April 18, 1906. The much shorter (15 seconds) Loma Prieta Earthquake hit just before the start of a World Series baseball game at 5:04 p.m. on Oct. 17, 1989. See a pattern? Neither do we. But let us know if you find one. Meanwhile, you might want to gather up the things that all San Franciscans need to be prepared for the next Big Shaker.

A Fire Extinguisher

Your fire extinguisher should be the kind that works for all types of fires and should be easily accessible.

First-Aid Kit

Your first-aid kid should be in a central location and should include instructions.


Have a crescent or pipe wrench on hand to turn off gas and water valves. (Shut off the valves only if your house has sustained severe damage or you smell gas.)


Keep flashlights -- and batteries -- in several locations in case of a power failure.

Water, Disinfectant

Store 3 days' worth of drinkable water for you and your family (1 gallon per person per day), plus a disinfectant like chlorine bleach to purify it.

Radio and Batteries

You'll need a portable radio so you can get emergency broadcasts and current disaster news. A cell phone might also come in handy.

Dry or Canned Food

Store a week's supply of food for each person -- preferably food that doesn't require refrigeration or cooking. Don't forget a can opener.

Barbecue Grill or Stove

Store a barbecue grill or camp stove, and some charcoal, starter, and matches. This is in case your gas or electricity has been turned off.

Blankets, Clothing, Shoes

Put blankets, clothing, and an extra pair of running shoes in your earthquake supplies box. You might need them to keep warm or hike to the local canteen.


Stash some $20 bills and some quarters (for the phones, not the meters). Note: the pay phones should work even if the regular phone lines are jammed.