In recently thinking about earthquakes, I recalled that the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake did a lot of its damage from the subsequent fires, which day after day burned their way around the city unchecked. In considering how to be safe from earthquakes and their aftermath, inland and beach communities should prepare for such an eventuality.
We also have to remember that a major part of our water supply comes from the other side of the San Andreas Fault, as does wind, solar, hydro and geothermal electrical power.
On the education side, we not only need to teach children in school about earthquake preparation in school and at home, but we also should have a program for adults in community groups or social groups. This should include earthquake securing your house, stocking water and food, and preparing an earthquake emergency kit including light and a radio. Thought should be given on how to live for a week or two without water, electricity, and gas.
An earthquake might not only sever power lines, but power plants will be automatically shut down. It may take weeks to repair and test them, and then to get government approval for them to restart.
On the fire side, people should be taught or reminded how to turn off their gas, which may leak through broken lines. We should check into whether the city gas supply has automatic gravity shutoff of sectors. The city should look into the cost of having these installed in each home. Besides individual houses having gas leaks, should people be advised to not use candles for lighting, since we are relatively untrained in using them safely? I bought an outside path light that gets solar charged, and can be used as an indoor light at night and recharged daily.
On the water side, assuming that electricity is cutoff, are the water tanks filled to the top usually, or what is the policy? Does the city have trucks carrying emergency diesel generators that could be brought to a local pumping area to keep the water tanks filling in such an emergency? Is the city capable of supplying diesel fuel through pumps to refuel the trucks without an electric grid? Do we have city gas pumps to fuel police vehicles that can run off of a generator in case the electric grid fails? Do we have enough pumper trucks to carry water from a reservoir to fight fires? Can the city locate a set of emergency generators to power markets to keep food cool and to run lights and cash registers for an orderly distribution of food in an emergency?
On the communication front for police and fire emergencies, do we have a central communication system that can be run without external electricity, first through batteries and then through diesel generators?
Sometimes, emergency preparation begins at home. Distant power plants already have forty years of emergency protection and inspection built into them by full time professionals.