Want To Prepare For The Next Big Quake? Ask A Teen

In the event of an emergency like an earthquake, adults should follow teens’ lead when it comes to communication style. “If young people would show older people how to text, that would be amazing,” says Ana-Marie Jones, the Executive Director of Collective Agencies Responding to Disasters. Image by Jhaymesisviphotography via Flickr.

by Amber Ly

You’re sitting on your bed, and your mattress starts to stir beneath you. “Oh, it’s just the cat,” you think to yourself. But then your wardrobe starts to sway. Left, right, left, right. Unless your cat literally weighs a ton, she isn’t the one to blame here. This is an earthquake. And if you’re like most teens in the Bay Area, you’ve only experienced a handful of them.

Northern California is notorious for being an earthquake hotspot. As a Bay Area resident, I live on top of several fault lines, specifically the San Andreas fault. Born and raised in San Francisco, I have been warned about the potential hazards of earthquakes my entire life.

“We had freeways collapsing, we had a panel of the bridge drop down,said Berkeley resident Ben Frost, 36, about the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Loma Prieta in 1989. Although he was only ten years old then, he remembers the quake and its aftermath. “Some people died. The whole world was vibrating and moving around. If it had been slightly stronger, way more buildings would’ve collapsed and most buildings aren’t prepared to be retrofitted for an even bigger quake.”

But as a Bay Area teen born eight years after Loma Prieta, I can’t remember an earthquake that did more than make a few houseplants shake. After hearing about the recent major earthquakes in Nepal, I wonder how prepared my peers and I are for a major earthquake.

One of my friends, 18-year-old —> Read More