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Coachella Valley cities taking measures to make sure the public is prepared for the next big earthquake


The city of Palm Desert sent out a pamphlet to its residents detailing what you should know and how you should prepare before, during, and after an earthquake. The city of Rancho Mirage also is taking strides to prepare you for an earthquake by holding a talk at the Rancho Mirage Library called "The Secrets to Survive the Big One" this Wednesday, February 25 beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Dr. Walter Dandrifge the technical advisor for the Emergency Preparedness Commission with the city of Rancho Mirage. He said, “Whenever it happens, it’s going to be significant.” A devastating earthquake can be right around the corner and when it happens, the Coachella Valley could be isolated. Greg Papazian, the emergency services coordinator in Palm Desert with Riverside County said the reason we could be isolated is, “Because it may take some time for assistance to come from outside the county from our state and federal partners.”

Both cities urging people to be prepared. Dandridge added, “It may not happen for a while, it may happen tomorrow.” The emergency preparedness team in Rancho Mirage said the first step to protecting yourself and your family is to put together an emergency kit. In your emergency kit, you should have a first aid kit, food for at least a week, one gallon of water per person per day for at least a week, things your pet may need, the equipment you may need to help rescue yourself, important documents such as health insurance, medications, and anything else you may need.

What should you do during an earthquake? Drop cover and hold on. Dandridge added, “Drop down and cover your neck and your head with your hands because your neck is one of the most vulnerable things that can get hit.”

After the shaking stops, you should check your utilities. Make sure that there's not a gas leak. You should also know how to shut off the water in your home. You should never try to light any candles for light, in case of a gas leak. Always keep a flashlight with batteries instead. Also, try not to use your phone to call friends or family after an earthquake so phone lines do not get clogged.

Iris Smotrich, Mayor of the city of Rancho Mirage urges folks to get to know their neighbors, “We are all going to be first responders, even if we don’t realize it now.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) holds training multiple times a year for those interested in learning more about emergency preparedness by becoming a part of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). This training is free and more information can be found here: RivCo CERT

For more preparedness resources you can visit:

RivCo Ready - Riverside County emergency management department

Department of Homeland Security - Planning ahead for disasters

Governor's Office of Emergency Management

American Red Cross

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Taban Sharifi

Taban Sharifi is a Meteorologist and Reporter with KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News & Weather Leader. Learn more about Taban here.


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