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Opinion: Cali earthquake shakes, rattles and rolls

Last week earthquakes upset the Golden State from its southern border all the way to the Pacific Northwest.

The news reports have been dominated by videos of the devastation the multiple quakes caused.

Residents are told to take emergency preparedness measures. According to televised reports, residents are scrambling to add earthquake coverage to their homeowners and renters’ insurance. Most policies require a 10-day waiting period to allow the aftershocks to subside.

Everywhere people are talking about the recent quakes. They are anxious to share where they were and what symptoms they observed. Rippling pools and ponds, swinging light fixtures, chandeliers and pictures falling on the floor are common sights during and after a quake.

We were home when the earthquakes hit. Neither of us felt a thing. If our fixtures swayed to the movement, we missed it.

Ridgecrest, the reports say was the hardest hit, with its latest quake measuring 7.1 on Charles F. Richter’s scale. Google tells us, “The Richter scale was developed in 1935 by American seismologist Charles Richter 1891-1989 as a way of quantifying the magnitude, or strength, of earthquakes.”

The system is still in use today.

The damage in Ridgecrest is extensive. Miraculously no deaths were reported, that a blessing in itself.

Our publisher Chuck Doud came to Madera after living in a variety of places, including Ridgecrest. The earthquake affected his friends still living there.

“I just heard that the Naval Air Weapons Testing Station China Lake was temporarily put out of commission by the quake,” Chuck said. “That’s almost unheard of. Only mission-critical personnel are still on the base. The only other time I can remember that happening was the day of the 9-11 attacks.”

Emergency plans are being devised by families here and all over the state to be followed during any disaster and not just earthquakes.

According to, a couple of plastic bins or duffle bags filled with the following items will help a family that is cut off from civilization survive, and is appropriate for many disasters, fire, flood and others.

Emergency Preparedness Kit:

Water — one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.

Food — at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Pet supplies as needed.

Battery — powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert. Flashlights, extra batteries, first aid kit, whistle to signal for help.

Sanitation — a dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.

Moist wipes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation.

Equipment — wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.

Manual can opener for food.

Local maps.

Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery.

Planning — a designated family meeting places are essential to make sure everyone has a fixed destination; you may want to include one alternate.

Many in this country are living in peril; keep them and especially our fellow Californians in your prayers.

Long days and pleasant nights, have a great weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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