Shakin’: Earthquakes and their Fallout

With the advance of technology comes the future of discoveries. At least, such was the case when scientists recently uncovered previously unknown fault lines in the mountains near Lake Tahoe. According to a U.S. Geological Survey, “the steep, fault-formed range west of the lake could generate relatively strong earthquakes with magnitudes from 6.3 to 6.9.”To those who live in the area, this news doesn’t come as a completely unexpected shock. The West coast–and especially California–is notorious for fault lines and earthquakes. However, earthquakes can happen anywhere as is evidenced by last summer’s East coast quake that was felt everywhere from New York City to Boston.

However, these newly discovered fault lines offer more than just the risk of shaking ground. “Tremblors could trigger landslides along the whole Tahoe-Sierra frontal fault zone,” said Insurance Journal, “stretching from west of Truckee Calif., to the south end of Lake Tahoe through the middle of Squaw Valley USA ski resort, Tahoma, Emerald Bay, and Fallen Leaf Lake.” These “tremblors,” as they’re called, have the unfortunate ability to cause landslides in the mountainous region in which the new faults were found.

One point that was made to the Associated Press by USGS scientist James Howle is that, ““although the Tahoe-Sierra frontal fault zone has long been recognized as forming the tectonic boundary between the Sierra Nevada to the west, and the Basin and Range Province to the east, its level of activity and, hence seismic hazard, was not fully recognized because dense vegetation obscured the surface expressions of the faults.”

In short, science is realizing that fault lines can do a lot more damage than was ever thought before. Which leads to the obvious question: what can be done to avoid earthquakes?

First of all, the web site ready.gov, a Federal Emergency Management Agency site, recommends securing all shelving to walls instead of merely positioning freestanding bookcases and cabinets. It also suggests putting heavier, more valuable belongings on lower shelves so as to diminish possible damage done to these possessions. Breakable items should be stored in latched cabinets, and pictures and mirrors should be fastened in place away from anywhere a person might sit. Checking all pipes, wires, and gas connections to combat potential fire, water, or gas risks in the event of an earthquake is also crucial.

If a home does fall into the damage zone of an earthquake, the first thing to do after the proverbial dust settles is to check all of those factors that were mentioned in preparation for a quake–wires, gas connections, pipes, and any heat sources should be checked to make sure everything has remained hooked up correctly and functioning. When cabinets and closets are opened, do so very carefully as the items within may have fallen against the doors. Of course, the most important factor is always safety so, if a residence is dangerously damaged or a gas, water, or fire hazard is determined, evacuation should be the top priority for every resident.

In the case of major damage, it’s always best to use the experience of an on-site expert, like Enservio’s Field Inventory Specialists. FIS can insure that each and every item lost is accounted for, and when paired with valuation specialists at Enservio, you find a winning combination that results in a speedy and accurate valuation process–much to the relief of exasperated home owners. The sooner help is sought from expert evaluators; the sooner normal life can get back on track. And nothing can shake Enservio’s expertise!

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