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h a t y o u need to do

ext fire,


r e t h e

bef o
e or flood

TO SU R earthquak


Illustration by John Blanchard / The Chronicle

W2 | San Francisco Chronicle and | Sunday, November 19, 2017



What makes California incomparably beautiful also makes it DOWNLOAD
undeniably dangerous. Raging rivers sculpted our lush valleys, This guide to preparing
wildfires renew our dense forests and fault lines created our majes- for and surviving a major
regional disaster is also
tic mountain ranges.
designed to be available
Living in California requires accepting the good and the bad, and offline as a pdf, in the
2017 brought us several reminders of how bad that can get. Our event that you need to
access it and are unable to
crippling drought collapsed in weeks because of torrential winter get cell service. Make sure
rains that flooded homes and washed away bridges, hillsides and to download it now at
Oroville Dams spillway. A deadly heat wave over Labor Day week- com/survival and follow
end shattered records. And, most recently, terrible winds pushed these simple steps to find it
when you need it.
devastating fires throughout Wine Country and beyond.
For iPhones: To store this
Reading the stories of families forced to flee their burning homes guide on an iPhone, down-
persuaded me to reconsider our familys disaster preparedness. load the document and
open the Files app, which is
How complacent had we become in preparing for the inevitable
included in iOS 11. If you
earthquake or other disaster? Late one night, I found myself deep in dont have the latest version
an Office of Emergency Services website, trying to figure out what of the Apple operating
system, you can store this
more we should be doing. document in iCloud or Goo-
Thats why The Chronicle decided to create this section. If better gle Drive. Instructions for
the latter are below under
planning increases your chances of surviving the next disaster, it Another Option.
will be worthwhile. Weve found the best tips, dug out the most For Android: To store this
inventive ideas, and illustrated it with the most creative graphics we guide on an Android phone,
you need to download a free
could muster. file manager app such as ES
In a disaster, we might not have power, cell phone service or other File Explorer File Manager or
modes of communication. Thats why weve also made this informa- use Google Drive. If youre
using a file manager, the
tion available in a document that you can download to your phone app will locate the guide
(see right). Even if cell service is out, youll be able to pull up the once its been downloaded
onto your phone.
information in this section.
Another option: If you
We hope you find this information useful and that it helps your have Google Drive, you can
family better prepare for the inevitable. store this document there
and make it available for
Audrey Cooper offline use. Once download-
ed, navigate to the settings
Editor in Chief
on the document and make
San Francisco Chronicle it available for offline use.
Sunday, November 19, 2017 | San Francisco Chronicle and | W3

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Find out how PG&E can help you be prepared at

PG&E refers to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation. 2017 Pacific Gas and Electric Company. All rights reserved. Paid for by PG&E shareholders.
W4 | San Francisco Chronicle and | Sunday, November 19, 2017

Noah Berger / Special to The Chronicle

By Kevin Fagan

When fires, earthquakes or other disasters hit us, they come with no

warning, and they leave behind chaos and ruin. How ready you are and
how well you react could mean the difference between life and death.
So you need to plan, and this boils down to some core principles: Pre-

pare your home for maximum safety, map out a plan of escape, store sup-
plies to help you live as well as you can through the aftermath.
Planning continues on W5
Sunday, November 19, 2017 | San Francisco Chronicle and | W5

American Stock Archive / Getty Images 1906

Reread this guide occasionally to refresh your Left: Firefighters work to save structures and they only realize they have to get ready once a
on Soda Canyon Road in Napa on Oct. 9.
memory, and try to lay in these preparations as soon Only 10 to 15 percent of people are
disaster happens, said Michael Skyler, who for
as possible. Because whether its a wildfire or a quake, prepared for a natural disaster. more than two decades has run the Disaster Sup-
all the warning you get may be a terse text message, a Above: A wooden cart lies in a giant ply Center in San Rafael, one of the few stores of its
horn blast or a panicky shout from a neighbor. crack in a cobblestone street after the kind in Northern California.
San Francisco earthquake in 1906.
The fact is that most people havent gotten pre- Planning for a disaster can mean the But thinking about it afterward is too late.
pared for disaster maybe 10 or 15 percent are difference between life and death.
W6 | San Francisco Chronicle and | Sunday, November 19, 2017

How to create a Remove dead branches that hang

over your roof, and keep branches
defensible space 10 feet away from your chimney.

A defensible space is a buffer zone around the build-

ings on your property that can increase the chanc-
es of your home surviving a wildfire. The space
is necessary to slow or stop the spread of
wildfire, and it helps prevent your home
from catching fire. It also protects the
firefighters defending your home. Two
zones make up the required 100 feet
of defensible space. For more in- 3 2
formation on how to prepare your 10 feet
home and yard against wildfires,
go to the Cal Fire website 1

Extends 30 feet from
buildings, structures,
decks, etc. Remove all 5
dead plants, weeds and
leaves from this area, 30 feet
including the roof and
rain gutters. 6

You can create fire-safe

zones with stone walls,
Extends 100 feet from 100 feet patios, decks and
buildings, structures, roadways. Use rock,
decks, etc. Mow grass Make sure your mulch, flowerbeds and
to a maximum height of house address is gardens as ground cover
4 inches. Create space clearly visible for bare space and as
between trees and from the street. effective firebreaks.
shrubs (see diagrams
on facing page).

Source: California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Graphic by Getty Images and The Chronicle


The Center for Insurance Policy and Research estimates that 2 million DEFENSIBLE ZONE
homes in California are at high risk for wildfire, or about 15 percent of all Create a 100-foot perimeter defensible zone around your house or apart-
ment to minimize fuel danger. This doesnt mean strip everything down to dirt.
the states housing. Thats more than any other state. Taking a few pre- Step one: Clear dead leaves and plants from within 30 feet of the home;
cautions is well worth your time. keeping tree branches 10 feet away from the chimney and other trees; and
There are two main goals when preparing your home for a wildfire: trim limbs to at least 6 feet above the ground. Clear all dead limbs, leaves and
Keep the flames as far away as possible, and fortify the house as much as other vegetation from the roof.
Step two: As part of the defensible zone, cut grass to 4 inches or lower
possible against embers and whatever fire licks up against the walls. from the 30-foot line out to the 100-foot line, and leave ample space be-
Here are the steps you can take: tween trees and bush so flames wont easily jump between them. Consult a
landscape specialist to learn how wide that space should be it varies from
yard to yard.
Sunday, November 19, 2017 | San Francisco Chronicle and | W7

1 Roof Plant and tree spacing

The most vulnerable part of MINIMUM HORIZONTAL CLEARANCE
The distance between grass, shrubs and trees is critical in
your home, it should be made
reducing the spread of wildfires. The spacing needed is de- Horizontal spacing depends on the slope of the land and the
of flame-retardant materials.
termined by the type and size of brush and trees, as well as height of the shrubs or trees.
Homes with wood or shingle
the slope of the land. A property on a steep slope with larger
roofs are at higher risk of
vegetation requires greater spacing between trees and
being destroyed in a wildfire.
shrubs than a level property that has sparse vegetation.
2 Chimney
10 feet
Cover with noncombustible MINIMUM VERTICAL CLEARANCE
screen. 2X

3 Garage X
Remove tree
Have a fire extinguisher and branches at least 6
tools such as a shovel, rake, feet from the ground.
bucket and hoe available for
fire emergencies. Store com-
bustible and flammable liquids
away from ignition sources.

4 Deck
Surfaces within 10 feet of the 20 feet
building should be built with
ignition-resistant or non- 4X
combustible materials. Re- vertical
move combustible items from clearance
underneath your deck. = 3 times
5 Windows of shrub
Heat from a wildfire can break MILD TO MODERATE SLOPE (20% TO 40%)
windows even before the Height
house ignites. This allows of shrub
burning embers to enter and
start fires inside. Single-pane
and large windows are partic- Allow extra
ularly vulnerable. Install dual- vertical space
pane windows with one pane between shrubs
of tempered glass to reduce and the lowest 30 feet
the chance of breakage in a branches of
fire. Consider limiting the size trees near them.
and number of windows that
face large areas of vegetation.
6 Driveway
Without this extra
Should be built according to vertical space, flames
state and local codes to allow are more likely to
emergency vehicles to reach spread upward from
your home. Trim trees and the ground to brush to
shrubs overhanging the road tree tops like a ladder.
to allow vehicles to pass. MODERATE TO STEEP SLOPE (GREATER THAN 40%)

Avoid or pull out flammable plants, such as bamboo or the oily euca- Roofs should be made of flame-retardant In just two minutes, a house fire can
lyptus which lights like a matchhead and opt instead for high-mois- materials, such as metal, asphalt composition become deadly, according to the Depart-
ture succulents such as aloe or fire-resistant hardwood trees such as shingles or clay tiles. Make the overhangs as ment of Homeland Security. In five min-
maple. wide as possible in the Wine Country fires, utes, a house can become fully engulfed
Dont operate any power tools to trim vegetation when the weather is some homes fared better with flying embers in flames. Plan for the worst.
hot and windy because sparks can light the yard in a twinkling. when they had fire-resistant overhangs of 4 feet Understand your risk. Cal Fire maintains
Notify Pacific Gas and Electric Co. whenever you notice power lines or more to keep them from hitting the walls. maps of areas prone to wildfire, and cities
brushing up against tree limbs, or close enough for a strong wind to slap Know where your gas shutoff valve is, and and counties are required to keep safety
them together. Its crews can come trim the trees. Several big fires, in- keep a wrench next to it. If you see a wildfire plans that contain procedures for evacua-
cluding the devastating 2015 Butte Fire, were sparked by power lines getting dangerously close, shut off the gas tions and communications.
hitting trees, and hitting against other power lines. and any propane tanks you might have around. Kevin Fagan and Kurtis Alexander
W8 | San Francisco Chronicle and | Sunday, November 19, 2017

1 Ensure your
chimney has a
spark arrester.
In a house fire, experts Clean chimneys
and flues at least
estimate you have a little as once a year.
two minutes to get out before
being overtaken by smoke 1 Install smoke detec-
tors between living
and flames. The trick is to try and sleeping areas.
to prevent flames from get-
ting to that point. Here are
things you can do to help
with that:
1 Double-paned windows can slow
the fires invasion, as can fire-resis- BEDROOM
tant walls such as stucco.
1 If you sleep with the
1 Make sure your chimney has a door closed, install a
spark arrester, and have it inspected smoke detector in the
and cleaned annually. bedroom.
1 Check the batteries in your smoke 1 Turn off electric
alarms once a month, and replace blankets and other
them twice a year. A good rule of electrical appliances
thumb is to replace them when you when not in use.
change the clocks in the spring and 1 Do not smoke in bed.
1 If you have security
1 Get rid of old paints and other bars on your windows
flammable liquids you dont need or doors, be sure they
anymore, and store those you do in have an approved
well-ventilated areas. quick-release mecha-
1 Cover all outside vents with tight nism so you and your
mesh of one-eighth- to one-quar- family can get out in
ter-inch openings to prevent em- the event of a fire.
bers from floating inside and ignit-
ing furniture or inner walls.
1 Keep a disaster kit within easy
reach of the front door see the
survival kit section in this guide
and make sure valuable documents
such as passports, insurance pol-
icies and deeds are in one handy
place to grab quickly. 1 Mount a working fire extinguisher
Kevin Fagan in the garage.
1 Install a solid door with self-closing
hinges between living areas and the
1 Disconnect electrical tools and appli-
ances when not in use. Replace cords
that do not work properly, have loose
connections or are frayed.

Source: California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

Sunday, November 19, 2017 | San Francisco Chronicle and | W9

1 Disconnect appliances such as curling irons and hair dryers
when done and store them in a safe location until they are cool. FIRE
1 Keep items such as towels away from wall and floor heaters.

1 Keep a working fire extinguisher in the Preparing for a house fire,
kitchen. including running fire drills,
1 Maintain electric and gas stoves in good can help families escape and
operating condition. survive if such a disaster hits.
1 Dont toss water on a stovetop grease Yet few families just 18 per-
fire to extinguish it. Instead, use baking
soda or put a lid on the pan to suffocate
cent have practiced home fire
the flames. drills. Heres what you can do:
1 Turn the handles of pots and pans away
from the front of the stove.
1 Walk through your home, and identi-
1 Install curtains and towel holders away fy exits and escape routes, making sure
from stove burners. doors and windows can be easily
1 Store matches and lighters out of reach opened.
of children. 1 Install smoke alarms in every sleep-
1 Make sure that electrical outlets are ing room.
designed to handle appliance loads. 1 Choose a meeting place outside
say the nearest stop sign or light post.
1 Assign someone to get the pets.
1 Practice escape routes twice a year,
making the drill as realistic as possible,
according to the Red Cross. The idea is
to practice, not scare children, so it
doesnt need to be a surprise drill. Drills
should include making sure children
know not to go back for toys, not to
hide and not to go near or touch the
1 Teach children to get low and go.
Have them practice escaping each
room by crawling along the perimeter
to an exit and to stop, drop and roll if
their clothing catches fire.
1 If children are fearful about fire or
fire drills at school or home make them
anxious, try visiting a fire station or
turning the drills into games, perhaps
STORAGE AREAS Simon says, Get low and go.
1 Dispose of oily rags in 1 For those in multistory homes or
metal containers. buildings, practice setting up and using
1 Store combustibles escape ladders from a first-floor win-
away from ignition sourc- dow.
es such as water heaters. 1 Instruct those who cant get out to
1 Store flammable liq- insulate themselves in a room, closing
uids in approved contain- doors and using towels or duct tape to
ers and away from igni- seal cracks. Wave a flashlight or light-
tion sources such as pilot colored clothing at the window so
lights. firefighters know where you are.
Jill Tucker

Graphic by Getty Images and The Chronicle

W10 | San Francisco Chronicle and | Sunday, November 19, 2017

3-DAY QUAKE SURVIVAL < Water purification

tablets in case you need
to go beyond three days
and clean water becomes
There are earthquakes, and then there are earthquakes, the kind that throw an en- scarce. Basic household
tire region off its axis, cause buildings to crumble and people to die, and if you sur- bleach can be used in a
pinch, six to eight drops
vive force you out of your home.
per gallon. Also include a
In the aftermath of one of those, you should be prepared to live self-sufficiently for foldable plastic water bag
at least three days and though most quakes will be quickly followed by shelters to mix the water in.
and governmental aid to ease the survival struggle, you have to plan for the worst.
Experts say that under the most dire scenario for a 7.0 Hayward Fault quake nev-
er mind the half-dozen other major faults that could rupture around here thou-
sands will be dead, tens of thousands of homes will be flattened, and hundreds of
thousands will become refugees. Power will be out for days, and rescue efforts will be
So have your earthquake survival kits ready.
Youll need one large can of supplies outside the home, and one much smaller go
bag of supplies in your car in case thats all you are left with. Check them every six
= 1 change of clothes
months to replace outdated food, water and batteries. per person: Shirt, un-
These kits, by the way, are also useful in floods, fires or other disasters. derwear, pants, shoes, = First-aid kit
Kevin Fagan jacket, diapers if needed

Heres the minimum you

need in the can:
_ Food for three days, about
1,000 calories per person.
Canned food is best outside
for not attracting rodents and
bugs, but its also heavy.
Some people prefer freeze-
dried food, meat jerky or = 1 blanket per person = Sewing kit
People most commonly
store their major survival
supplies outside the
home in a basic outdoor < Feminine
garbage can either supplies
32-gallon or 55-gallon. and other
Keep it far enough away necessary
from the house or com- personal
plex so that it wont be hygiene
crushed if the building items
= Toilet paper
falls down. Seal the lid
with rubber window
weather sealant tape to
mitigate mildew, and put _ 1 gallon of
anything that could get water per
moldy or rusty in airtight person, for
plastic bags before you three days
put them in the can.

Photos by
Carlos Avila
Gonzalez / The
= Flashlight = Battery-powered lamp
Sunday, November 19, 2017 | San Francisco Chronicle and | W11

< Tools:
< Enough batteries < Recharger Screwdriver
to run every device for cell phones (with replace-
you store in the can and devices, able Phillips
and place them all in powered by and flathead
a separate bag, not in batteries, with ends), pliers,
the devices, because cell phone
you may forget to recharging cord
replace them, and for automobile style multitool
they will corrode or pocketknife,
can opener
= Portable

< At least
$100 in small
bills, with
some coins. = Candles
(Debit and
credit card
might not be
working for
days.) = Plastic sheeting, at
least 6-by-8 feet, or
= Gas meter valve = 100 feet of rope tube tent for emergen-
shutoff wrench (3/16-inch or bigger) cy shelter = Waterproof matches

< Paper or plastic

plates, bowls and = Small cooking pot. = Soap and
= Duct tape = Work gloves cutlery Drinking cup = Whistle bath towel


1 Extra eyeglasses 1 Local maps
1 Extra medications 1 1 sleeping bag per
1 Water filter to person
drink from question- 1 Fire extinguisher
able sources if you 1 Books and games
have to 1 Copies of impor-
1 Assortment of tant documents
plastic bags, from such as insurance
sandwich to trash policies or house
< Hatchet can sizes deeds
for building 1 Solar-powered or 1 Paper and pencil
= 1 smoke/dust or debris hand-crank recharg-
mask per person clearing = Foldable shovel = Handy wipes er for devices
W12 | San Francisco Chronicle and | Sunday, November 19, 2017


You may be in your car when a
devastating quake hits the Bay Area,
making a survival kit as valuable as the
Instant hand warmers
one youve left at home. A small
backpack is recommended, filled with
the items on the the following list
Gas meter valve
(which is designed for one person): shut-off wrench
Kevin Fagan 1 gallon of water for
three days. (Youll need
to keep this outside the
backpack in your vehicles
trunk. Because 3 gallons
of water can be bulky for
the car, some people go
Recharger for cell phones for as little as a quart a
and devices, powered by day to be in bare survival
batteries, with cell phone mode. Each quart can be
charger cord for the car stored in the backpack in
Tube tent small foil packets, avail-
able at disaster-supply
sites or stores.)


Portable radio

Batteries enough to run

every device you store in
the bag
Duct tape

1 blanket emergency
survival models are
compact and light
Water purification
tablets in case you
need to go beyond A smoke/dust mask
three days; or a water
Work gloves

Toilet paper

Feminine supplies and

Whistle Candle other necessary personal
hygiene items

50 feet of
Sewing kit
rope (3/16
inch or bigger) Food for 3 days,
about 1,000
calories some-
thing lightweight
Lightstick like energy bars
First aid kit

Leatherman-style multi-tool or
pocketknife with can opener,
screwdriver heads and knife blade.

Photos by Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle

Sunday, November 19, 2017 | San Francisco Chronicle and | W13


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W14 | San Francisco Chronicle and | Sunday, November 19, 2017


READY FOR A QUAKE Attach plywood sheets
to the attic ceiling near
the chimney to help
prevent falling bricks
The most beautiful sight to greet your eyes after a devastating from plunging through
the roof and into
earthquake will be that of your house still standing, and everyone rooms below.
who lives in it still safe. Heres what you can do to have the best
chance of that happening:


1 Bolting your house to its foundation with anchor
bolts, if it hasnt already been done, will help prevent
the house from sliding off its foundation. Securely fasten
or relocate
1 Installing extra wooden sheeting along the homes
heavy pictures
cripple walls those short walls in the crawl space
and mirrors
between the foundation and floor will also help
over beds and
keep the house on its foundation.
1 Screw plywood sheets to the attic ceiling, close to
the chimney. Chimneys commonly collapse in a big
quake, and this will help stop falling bricks from
plunging through the roof onto you.
1 If you live in a soft-story house, meaning the first
floor is not well reinforced and will collapse in a big
temblor, its recommended to spend the considerable Know how and
amount of money it will take to have it retrofitted. Or when to shut
if you dont own the building, talk with the landlord off utilities.
about this. In some cases, the retrofit is required by
local law.
1 Install earthquake safety automatic shutoff valves
for your gas lines. If you dont have an automatic
valve, keep a shutoff wrench by the valve so you can
turn off the gas right after a big quake.
1 For a mobile home, install braces or a tie-down Strengthen
system underneath to keep it from collapsing during garages that
the shaking. have living
space above

1 Heavy hanging objects like big pictures or mirrors

should be attached to walls with screws driven into
studs, not sheet rock.
1 Bookcases, china cabinets and other heavy furni-
ture placed against a wall should be attached to that
wall by L-shaped metal brackets.
1 The doors to all cupboards and cabinets should be
fitted with child-proofing latches so they dont pop Upgrade unbraced crawl-space walls
open during the shaking and fling everything out at and other foundation problems.
1 Brace your water heater against the wall with
metal straps screwed into studs.
Kevin Fagan

Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency

N Sunday, November 19, 2017 | San Francisco Chronicle and | W15

Strap bookcases Secure cabi-

and shelves to nets to wall How to turn off natural gas
walls to prevent studs; use
tipping. latches to The gas shut-off valve is parallel to the pipe, usually 6 to 8 inches
keep cabinet above the ground. Use a 12-inch or larger adjustable wrench to
doors from give the valve a quarter turn so that it is crosswise to the pipe.
flying open
during an


Source: PG&E Todd Trumbull / The Chronicle

Ensure that gas appliances

have flexible connections. PREPARE FAMILY
Strap down computers
and televisions.
Earthquakes are scary. Suddenly the world shakes, the
room rattles and things start to fall. To kids, it might feel
like a monster has ahold of their house or school. The
best way to ease the fear is to prepare. Talking to children
and creating a plan can make such an emergency less
scary and help calm nerves when a quake actually strikes.
Here are practical tips on what to do:

1 Gather the family and create a 1 Identify a safe place outside to

plan together. meet up after the shaking stops.
1 Pick safe places in each room
Secure ceiling fans to take cover when the shaking 1 Designate an out-of-state
and hanging light begins under furniture or person for everyone to call to
fixtures. against an interior wall away relay information.
from windows, bookcases or tall
furniture that could fall. Stay 1 Assign someone to turn off
away from kitchens and garages, the gas and to gather pets.
which tend to be the most dan-
gerous because of the objects 1 Create an earthquake kit as a
kept there. family, and include one comfort
item per child, like a teddy bear
1 Practice Drop, cover and hold or toy, as well as activities or
on in each safe place and childrens books.
schedule drills every six months.
1 Conduct a hazard hunt, 1 Talk about what to do if an
looking for objects that could fall earthquake happens while family
or fly through the air. members are at school or work
1 Put a working flashlight and reassuring young children that
Brace water heaters, and shoes next to each bed. they will be safe until picked up
ensure that gas models while also creating a meeting
1 Teach everyone to knock on place for adults and older chil-
have flexible connections.
something three times repeated- dren.
ly if trapped.
Graphic by Getty Images and The Chronicle Jill Tucker
Sunday, November 19, 2017 | San Francisco Chronicle and |

This map shows the estimated intensity of earthquake ground MAP LEGEND
shaking across the Bay Area based on quake scenarios and likeli- Shaking severity
hood information for all faults in the region. Developed by the (MMI scale level) Effects on people and objects Effects on structures
Association of Bay Area Governments, the U.S. Geological Survey
Difficult to stand or walk. Damage to poorly built
and the California Geological Survey, the map uses the Modified Many things thrown from masonry buildings. Weak
Mercalli Intensity scale, which describes earthquake shaking Strong walls and shelves. Furniture chimneys broken at roof line.
severity by its effects on people, objects and buildings. The amount (Level 7) is shifted or broken. Shaking Fall of plaster, loose bricks,
is noticed by drivers of cars. stones, tiles, cornices, unbraced
of shaking in a particular location will depend on the type of parapets and porches. Some
ground underneath and how far it is from the fault that ruptured. cracks in better masonry
For additional earthquake hazard information, including interac-
tive maps for each county, go to Nearly everything thrown Extensive damage to
from shelves, cabinets and unreinforced masonry
Very strong walls. Furniture overturned. buildings, including partial
(Level 8) Steering of cars affected. collapse. Fall of some masonry
walls. Twisting and falling of
chimneys and monuments.
Wood-frame houses moved on
foundations if not bolted.
General panic. Only very Poorly constructed masonry
well anchored contents of buildings collapse or are
Violent buildings remain in place. heavily damaged. Some
(Level 9) well-constructed buildings are
damaged. Soft-story buildings
partially or completely
collapse. Underground pipes
San Andreas Fault
Maacama Fault
L ak

Rodgers Creek Fault


Santa Rosa

Sonoma 16%
Napa Vacaville
Novato 80
Concord-Green Valley Fault
Probability of a 22% San Pablo Bay
6.7-magnitude Vallejo
earthquake or
larger occurring 780
San Rafael
on that fault
system by
2043. 33%
The overall
Hayward Fault
likelihood is
72 percent for
a 6.7 quake
Berkeley 24 Creek Antioch
somewhere in
the Bay Area
by 2043. 680 CONTRA COSTA
Mount Diablo Fault
San Andreas Fault 101
Bay Hayward
San Mateo
ALAMEDA Greenville Fault
Redwood Fremont
Pa o A
Pa Alto
| San Francisco Chronicle and | Sunday, November 19, 2017

Calaveras Fault
San Gregorio Fault
Mountain View
6% 280
San Jose
Number of uninhabitable units in Bay Area
1989 Loma Repeat of 1906 quake Quake on
Prieta quake on San Andreas Fault Hayward Fault Morgan Hill
County (actual figures) (predicted) (predicted)
Alameda 3,284 16,048 88,265
Contra Costa 0 1,173 10,102
Marin 2 3,495 2,125
Napa 0 20 36
San Francisco 9,202 82,354 37,670
San Mateo 76 24,472 1,616
Santa Clara 408 29,593 14,273
Solano 0 185 1,046
Sonoma 0 2,530 559
TOTAL 12,972 159,870 155,692
Sources: Association of Bay Area Governments, U.S. Geological Survey Todd Trumbull / The Chronicle
W18 | San Francisco Chronicle and | Sunday, November 19, 2017

Tesla Powerwall 2 with rooftop

solar panel cells
This device, sold by electric car
maker Tesla, is a wall-sized lithi-

um-ion battery that is charged and
recharged with electricity generat-
ed by solar panels. The device,

which can be attached to an exte-
rior wall, is also available through
Teslas SolarCity subsidiary.

OBJECT Cost: $5,500 each for a Power-

wall 2, which would generate
enough power to cover up to a
1,100-square-foot home; two
would generate enough for up to a
Power and communica- 4,600-square-foot home. Tesla
recommends adding more Power-
tions are two elements of
walls if you want to run the air
modern life that we take conditioner and are charging an
for granted, but both can electric vehicle, which actually
easily disappear in a disas- might come in handy if gasoline
supplies are cut off.
ter. If you are still able to
live in your house after an The catch: Youll still need roof- Tesla
top solar panels for the device to Tesla's Powerwall 2 is a big house battery that stores energy from solar panels.
earthquake or other major work. But look at it this way: You
disaster, but you have no can use them to save on your
power, here are some rela- electricity bill, even if theres not a
tively inexpensive steps
Satellite phones
you can take, like buying a POWER GENERATORS Most of us are reliant on our telephones, whether mobile or
phones like
flashlight-radio recharged You could choose between a por- landline, and computers to communicate with friends and the Iridium
table gasoline-powered backup
by a hand crank and solar loved ones, and we expect them to work to summon help in an Extreme
generator or a permanently in- emergency. But if cell phone networks are incapacitated, land-
panels. It would give you stalled generator, powered by lines are down and Wi-Fi is not available, phones that connect
could be an
some light and a one-way natural gas, propane or diesel, that to orbiting satellites might be the only option. way to
communications channel. automatically kicks in if power is
Cost: Iridium has the largest constellation with 66 satellites, prepare for
But if money is no ob- enough to make a call from atop Mount Everest. The top-of- the loss of
Cost: It varies wildly depending on phone lines.
ject, here are some other the line Iridium Extreme 9575 allows voice calls, SMS texting
what your electrical needs are. and email messages, and costs $1,295 on satellite phone sites
options: Honda has a wattage calculator to like Other phones start in the neighborhood
estimate what kind of power gen- of $700, but that doesnt include your monthly service plan
erator you might need. For ex- and the charges per minute, per call.
ample, running a house full of
appliances including refriger-
ator, microwave, furnace fan,
flat-screen TV, washer, dryer, air
conditioner, computer, monitor,
garage door opener and DVD Your smartphone
player at one time requires a Turn it into a satellite phone with a device like the
recommended wattage of nearly Iridium Go, which creates a Wi-Fi hotspot connecting
23,000. up to five smartphones to the satellites. The connec-
Home Depots website lists tion allows only one call at a time. It also supports
portables starting as low as $120, email and texts, but only basic web browsing.
but none meet the 23,000-watt Cost: $799 for the unit, plus additional monthly ser-
requirement. Permanent genera- vice or prepaid data plans, activation fees and per-call
tors are available for anywhere charges.
Iridium Communications
from $1,900 to $17,000, although
a $10,000 model might meet the The Iridium Go connects The catch: Satellite phone equipment requires some
wattage youll need to make ev- smartphones to orbiting form of power to charge the batteries.
erything work in your house. communications satellites. Benny Evangelista
Sunday, November 19, 2017 | San Francisco Chronicle and | W19

APPS CAN HELP Disaster Alert: Available as both a free iOS or

Android app and for PC web browser, Disaster


Alert from Pacific Disaster Center in Hawaii maps
active warnings and advisories of the most haz-
ardous quakes, hurricanes, cyclones, floods,
wildfires, medical epidemics and other problems

DISASTER HITS around the world. For an extra subscription fee,

alerts can be customized by geography or type of
hazard. The app uses technology from Kaazing of
Santa Clara.
Several smartphone apps became extremely popular
during recent disasters, according to San Francisco mo-
bile apps analytics firm App Annie. Its best to download
these free apps before you need them. Here they are:

Zello: This app turns your smartphone, tablet First Aid by the American Red Cross: This app
or PC into a two-way radio walkie-talkie. It was lists first-aid techniques for a variety of medical
credited with creating ad hoc communications issues, such as broken bones, burns and concus-
networks that proved invaluable to emergency sions, and recommends what to do before, dur-
workers and community volunteers trying to ing and after emergencies like quakes, fires,
help stricken Houston-area residents when floods, landslides, heat waves and volcano erup-
Hurricane Harvey hit. It can also be useful for tions. The app also locates the nearest hospitals.
finding family members. The app, which The Red Cross also has other apps for specific
topped the Apple store and Google Play down- disasters, including earthquakes, hurricanes,
load charts in September, works on Wi-Fi or tornadoes and floods, plus an all-in-one emer-
even older GPRS and EDGE mobile wireless gency app that monitors more than 35 severe
technologies. weather conditions.
1 1

ICE (In Case of Emergency): The app lists

GasBuddy: This crowdsourced app normally your emergency contacts and key medical
helps drivers find the cheapest gasoline in information such as blood type, allergies and
their area. Downloads of the app spiked in medication for doctors and first responders
the weeks leading to Hurricane Irma as driv- to see on your smartphones lock screen.
ers sought to find stations that still had both App Annie said this Android-only app is
fuel and electricity to run the pumps. popular on the Google Play store, but there
are similar ones available for Apple phones.

The Weather Channel: The app brings you Power Battery: Apps like this one from LionMo-
the latest weather forecasts, but also pro- bi tell you whats draining battery life, to help
vides up-to-date tracking during severe reduce power consumption. Such apps could be
weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes crucial if you need to stretch battery life if you
and other storms. The Weather Channel has cant recharge. App Annie said Power Battery is
many versions available, including those for one of the most popular of its type, but only
the Apple Watch, Apple TV, iMessage, An- works on Android. But there are similar ones
droid phones and Windows PCs. available in the Apple store.
1 1
Benny Evangelista
W20 | San Francisco Chronicle and | Sunday, November 19, 2017


shaking or burning, All pets should be identi- WATER
mans best friend fied with tags and, prefer- Keep a pet first aid kit, with
(dogs) and mans best ably, microchips. disinfectant, bandages, twee-
zers and antibiotic ointment.
friends occasional Keep a weeks worth of pet
enemy (cats) need ten- food on hand, and periodically check its expira- TRANSPORTATION
der loving care and tion date to make sure its usable. Canned food AND LODGING
will keep longer than dry. Make sure to have
common sense from BEHAVIOR: EXPECT plenty of extra water, more than you think youll
Pets should be trained to
ride in a car, perhaps even
their caretakers. Here THE UNEXPECTED need. Pets (and people) drink more when under in a pet carrier. Remember,
are tips for pet surviv- In an emergency, dogs stress. if you have to evacuate
tend to bolt and cats And, of course, have bowls, leash, can opener,
al in a disaster: medicine, pet toys and plenty of cat litter, plastic
your home, not all hotels
tend to hide, as a general and motels allow pets.
rule. Be prepared for unusual behavior. If your bags or other cleanup gear on hand. In an emer- Make a list of those near
dog behaves erratically when Fourth of July gency, with problems all around, no one wants your area that do.
fireworks go off, expect much more of the to walk needlessly into another problem be-
same during a quake or fire. cause of a thoughtless pet owner. Steve Rubenstein


Getting ready for
a disaster doesnt
just mean keeping
the weeds down,
bracing your foun-
DOCUMENTS CAMERA Find out which perils are covered by your policy and how FLOOD
extra food and wa- COVERAGE
Keep a copy of your will, Your insurance will pay for much the company will pay to replace your home, con-
ter. It also means trust, birth and marriage everything you lost as a tents and for additional living expenses if you cant live in Your homeowners
getting your finan- certificates, Social Secu- result of a covered peril, your home. Most policies will pay for losses from fire, or renters insur-
cial house in order. rity cards, insurance down to aspirin in the smoke, wind, hail, water (excluding floods), vandalism and ance company
papers, medical informa- medicine cabinet (up to theft. They do not cover losses caused by earthquakes and can provide a
For example, most tion, most recent tax your policy limits of floods. Those perils require separate policies. National Flood
people dont think return, receipts for high- course). Its easier to docu- Make sure you have replacement cost coverage. This will Insurance Policy
much about their ticket items and other ment your losses if you pay to replace your building and contents up to your and a quake pol-
insurance policy important documents in take photos or videos of policy limits with new ones of similar kind and quality. icy from the Cali-
a safe deposit box. You everything in your home, Avoid actual cash-value policies, which pay only the de- fornia Earthquake
until they need to can also scan and save garage and outbuildings. preciated value of what you lost. Authority or an-
file a claim, and at them to a DVD or flash Shoot whats inside your Its good to have extended replacement cost coverage, other company. A
that point its too drive, which you can give drawers, cabinets and which will pay a certain amount 20 percent or more few companies
to a trusted friend or closets, so it will be easy to depending on the insurer above your policy limits. This sell stand-alone
late to wish you had family member outside remember how many ties can help pay for the surge in local building costs that often earthquake (but
more or better cov- the region. Another op- or wine glasses you had. follow a widespread disaster. Also opt for building code not flood) insur-
erage. tion is to save them in Store photos/videos in the upgrades, which will pay an amount over your policy limit ance.
the cloud. cloud for easy access from to comply with new code requirements. A guaranteed Kathleen Pender
Here are some anywhere. While youre at replacement cost policy will pay to replace your house no
ways to shore up For a list of vital docu-
it, consider converting old matter what the cost, but these are not common and very
your finances, and 2zqvZDy
family photos and videos expensive.
what to do after to a digital format that can Your insurer can tell you how much coverage you will
be stored in the cloud. need to replace your home and structure, but for a second
disaster hits. opinion, ask a local contractor how much it costs to build
per square foot and multiply that by your homes size.
Sunday, November 19, 2017 | San Francisco Chronicle and | W21


TO HELP YOUR Terry Robertson


Staff writers
Kurtis Alexander
Michael Cabanatuan
Benny Evangelista
In the event of a The Citizen Corps, which brings together local gov- Kevin Fagan
ernment, business and community leaders to prepare Kathleen Pender
disaster, trained vol- need to do
What you xt fire,
for a disaster. Carolyn Said
before the or flood
unteers can make a earthquake

big difference in
More information on local chapters can be found on
Twitter @citizen_corps or online at www.citizen
Steve Rubenstein
Jill Tucker
helping communities Danielle Mollette-Parks
Art Director
respond. Community Emergency Response Teams offer
Two options to training for individuals to respond to fires, earthquakes Anne Mellinger
participate in these or other disasters. More than 6,000 individuals partici- Mike Massa
pate in their communities. In San Francisco, the Fire
types of volunteer Department organizes the free trainings for the citys Graphic Artists
networks are: Todd Trumbull ON THE COVER
Neighborhood Emergency Response Team, or NERT.
John Blanchard Illustration by John Blanchard
For more information:
In San Francisco:
Jill Tucker

Get connected

to 888-777 to
receive real
time emergency
W22 | San Francisco Chronicle and | Sunday, November 19, 2017

Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle


Last winters near-record rain underscored how much of 1 Seek high ground with an 1 Do not walk or drive through flood- Lorin
emergency kit if you have one. water. Most flood-related drownings Doeleman
California is prone to flooding. uses a kayak
1 If time allows, secure your occur when someone drives into high
While some spots expect it, such as along Sonoma Countys water, according to the Centers for Dis- to check her
home before leaving. Move
Russian River where residents buy canoes and build homes valuables upstairs or to higher ease Control and Prevention. The second flooded home
on stilts, other places are far less prepared. High water came leading cause is walking into high water. in Guerneville
areas, disconnect electrical
Turn around and go the other way. in January
as a surprise to many of the 14,000 San Jose residents forced appliances, tie down outside
after heavy
furniture and seal basement 1 Should your vehicle stall out, leave it.
to evacuate near the citys Coyote Creek in February. vents. Dont wait on the roof and become fod-
winter rains.
Every California county has been declared a flood disaster 1 Consult a reliable weather der for the nightly news broadcast or
multiple times, according to the Public Policy Institute of source, such as a weather worse. However, if the water is rushing,
and you have a sense that youll be
California. And 1 in 5 Californians and more than $580 billion radio or,
swept away, stay put.
about safe places to go and
of property remain vulnerable to flooding. Kurtis Alexander
safe ways to get there.
Should you get caught in a flood, heres what to do:
Sunday, November 19, 2017 | San Francisco Chronicle and | W23

John Storey / Special to The Chronicle 2012

1 Comply with emergen- 1 Await further in- A 2012 fire at
cy orders. Consult the fire struction before re- Chevrons
department, a reliable turning to your nor- Richmond

media source or a public mal routine. refinery sent
safety alert system about The federal Emer- thousands to
what to do. gency Planning and hospitals and

Community Right-to- forced BART to
1 If youre ordered to Know Act, passed in suspend
evacuate, dont panic. 1986, requires in- service.
Let others in the building dustries to report
know the situation, then what hazardous
Even amid Californias greening economy, the Bay Area grab your wallet, phone materials they use.
is still home to industrial plants, with the potential for a and keys, as well as your If you really want
dangerous release of toxic chemicals. emergency kit if you have to be prepared, check
one, and leave.
Should a toxic material become airborne, authorities may out the inventory lists
kept by county health
order evacuations of nearby homes, schools and businesses, 1 If youre ordered to
agencies and local
shelter in place, close
or they may ask people to shelter in place, depending on the exterior doors and win- fire departments.
substance and situation. Heres what you should do: dows and move toward
the center of the building. Kurtis Alexander
W24 | San Francisco Chronicle and | Sunday, November 19, 2017

Youve done all you can to
retrofit the house, clear fire-
safe space in your yard, jack
the mobile home up above
flood level. But that was just a
The real test comes when
the disaster actually hits.
Thats when you have to wres-
tle down the panic and act fast,
whisking yourself and your
loved ones to safety or hun-
kering down the best way you
And then dig out and
carry on. Which could mean
everything from literally dig-
ging yourself out of rubble and
reconnecting with family to
plotting how to get to work in
a ravaged disaster zone. Navi-
gating insurance agencies and
construction bids to rebuild
what you lost could become
like a second job for you for Fred Larson / The Chronicle 1991
the next two years. Hosing down the roof, like this Oakland resident during the 1991 firestorm, should be tried only when there is adequate time and little wind.

the wildfire is rampaging AND WINDS ARENT BEGINS TO SHAKE
1 Flee the minute calamity becomes imminent, and certain- HIGH, YOU MIGHT
toward your house or the ly if you are told the evacuate. It takes only two minutes for 1 Drop, cover and hold on. That
earthquake is starting to fire to ignite a house and five minutes to engulf it. means, if you are inside, drop to the
jerk furniture across the 1 Take your disaster kit with important documents, first 1 Wet down the roof of floor, find cover under a heavy table,
aid kit and survival supplies with you. your house with a garden and hold on to that table until the
room like ten pins. What hose. But emergency shaking ends.
now? 1 Back your car into an open space to load it, leaving it officials say dont try to be
pointed in the direction you plan to head. While you load, 1 If you are outside, dash away from
a hero. They dont want to buildings or large trees to as open a
leave the doors unlocked and the key in the ignition. waste time they could be space as you can find.
1 If the fire has hit your house before youve had time to using to fight the main fire
escape, check the doorknob before you open it. If the knob to rescue you.
1 If you are driving, pull over to the
is hot, the fires close on the other side of the door. Pick side of the road. Avoid overpasses,
1 Move combustible patio bridges, power lines and other things
another exit. furniture inside, or at least that could tumble onto your car.
1 If you have to flee through a room on fire, crawl so you will on the other side of the
be below the smoke level. house from where the fire
1 If its an epic quake, a tsunami might
follow so get to higher elevation
1 Throw on a heavy coat to protect against burning embers. is approaching, so flaming
once the ground stops convulsing.
embers have less to ignite.
Kevin Fagan
Sunday, November 19, 2017 | San Francisco Chronicle and | W25

Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle


The wildfire, quake 1 If your house is livable, stay 1 If your home is unlivable and a hotel or 1 Take care of yourself. Evacuee Junior
with it even if the utilities are out staying with relatives is not an option, go Consider counseling, Gomez, 11, rests
or flood has ravaged with his
because shelters might become to an emergency shelter quickly so you can stay healthy through
your neighborhood, overcrowded. This is where your get situated, start reconnecting with family exercise and good diet, 2-month-old
and youre lucky to be survival kit will prove its worth, or work and begin applying for aid and get stay current with your puppy, Smoky,
alive and intact. for food, water, first aid and the in contact with your home insurance agent. friends in other at a Red Cross
rest. words, recognize youve shelter after
Thats the most im- 1 If you rent or decide not to replace your
gone through an emo- evacuating his
1 You may have turned off your house, prepare yourself for months of
portant thing. But the gas, but if you smell or suspect a relocation arrangements signing a new tional wringer, and let home with his
danger is not neces- leak dont use matches, candles lease, getting new furniture or other be- yourself process the parents
grief. Remember: To following the
sarily over, and your or turn on any light switches longings, applying for insurance payments
some extent, you will Tubbs Fire in
(turning on any electric switch or governmental emergency assistance. If
next steps will be can cause a spark) until youre you are moving back into an apartment be rebuilding your life, Santa Rosa.
trying. sure the gas danger is over. that was only partially damaged, the land- and that comes one
Heres what experts lord is responsible for making it fit to live in slow step at a time.
1 If youre outside, never touch a Kevin Fagan
advise: downed power line. again but not for the loss of your person-
al property.
W26 | San Francisco Chronicle and | Sunday, November 19, 2017



The Bay Areas next big earthquake will undoubtedly wreak havoc with the
regions transportation system. But where and how badly is a mystery. Point Reyes Station
There are so many variables, said Jim Allison, a BART spokesman. Its not
just the intensity of the quake but the location. MARIN
When Loma Prieta struck in 1989, the seismic forces snapped part of the east COUNT Y
span of the Bay Bridge, causing a section of the roadway to fall, killing one per- BART
son and closing the bridge for more than a month. The upper level of a double- 1 BART will halt trains after a 1
deck section of Interstate 880 in Oakland, known as the Cypress Structure, col- major quake for an undetermined
lapsed, leading to the deaths of 42 people. length of time to assess damage.
If and when it seems safe, trains
BART shut down after the quake while crews inspected the system. But only will proceed to the nearest station
minor damage was discovered, and trains were running again by the next morn- and passengers will be let off.
ing. 1 Trains in the Transbay Tube will
Since then, all of the Bay Areas major bridges have been bolstered, rebuilt or immediately proceed to the near-
est station and passengers will be
replaced; BART has strengthened its stations, above-ground tracks and the evacuated.
Transbay Tube; and a regional ferry system designed to play a major role in a
1 Downtown San Francisco sta- Golden Gate Bridge
major earthquake has been created. tions Civic Center through Em-
Here are some things to expect from the regions transportation system after barcadero will be evacuated,
the next major earthquake: along with West Oakland Station.

BART stations

Major airports


Ferry terminals
1 The Bay Areas two major ferry-
1 Transportation offi- 1 All state-owned bridges have then, its expected to suffer 2 Vallejo
boat operators Golden Gate
cials will immediately been retrofitted to hold up some damage, though nothing
Ferry and San Francisco Bay Ferry 3 Larkspur
activate an emergency against an earthquake, though that would cause loss of lives.
will play a big role after a devas-
operations center that they may still sustain damage 1 Highways and roads, espe- tating earthquake. 4 Tiburon
will coordinate and requiring repairs. cially those nearest the bay
1 San Francisco Bay Ferry is oper- 5 Sausalito
communicate informa- 1 The new Bay Bridge is a life- including bridge approaches
ated by the Water Emergency
tion. line span considered strong may be torn apart by the shak- 6 Pier 41
Transportation Authority, which is
1 Finding out which enough to withstand the largest ing and barely usable.
also assigned the task of coordi- 7 Ferry Building
roads and rail systems credible earthquake forces and 1 Immediately after an earth- nating how water transit responds
are detoured, damaged, be usable by emergency work- quake, drivers should proceed to regional emergencies. 8 AT&T Park
opened or closed will be ers within 48 hours of a quake if with caution and get off the
not sooner. 1 The authority will help people 9 Jack London Square
important, and the 511 road as quickly as possible.
get to their homes across the bay
service will be the best 1 Both ends of the Golden 1 On roadways that are signif- and work with the state Office of 10 Alameda
source of information Gate Bridge have been retro- icantly damaged, Caltrans and Main Street
Emergency Services on evacua-
either by phone or web- fitted, but the suspension span the California Highway Patrol tions, transporting first responders
site. in the center has not. Work is 11 Harbor Bay
will set up barricades and de- and moving supplies.
1 If phone or Internet expected to begin within tours, and the information will 12 South
months. 1 Golden Gate Ferry plans to run
service is unavailable, be broadcast on local radio San Francisco
load and go service if necessary.
the best source of in- 1 When retrofitting is complet- stations, and displayed, if
Boats will depart as soon as
formation can be found ed, the Golden Gate will also be theyre operable, on electronic
theyre full and return to pick up
on old-fashioned, over- a lifeline span, quickly ready to message signs and the 511
more passengers.
the-airwaves radio. carry emergency crews. Until website.
Michael Cabanatuan
Sunday, November 19, 2017 | San Francisco Chronicle and | W27

COUNT Y 80 12


Novato 1 2 Vallejo

Antioch Bridge
San Pablo Bay Island 780 Suisun
Benicia 160

Carquinez Bridge
Benicia-Martinez Bridge

Richmond- 4 Pittsburg/ Antioch

oe North Concord/
San San Rafael Martinez
Bay Point
Rafael Bridge 80 Uber, Lyft and Airbnb the big three
on-demand services all stand ready to
BART help when widespread disaster strikes.
Cl yton
yto n
E Cerrito
El Cerritto
o del
el N
rtte Pleasant Hilll Brentwood
Angel Uber and Lyft say they will offer free or dis-
Island North Berkel
ey Lafayette C O N T R A C O S TA counted rides to those in need during a disaster
5 Bay Bridge Ala
A amo
Alamo COUNT Y and its aftermath. Lyft specified those rides are
Rockridge to shelters, hospitals and other designated emer-
Embarcadero MacArthur M aga
Mor a
Danville Los gency areas. The companies will suspend surge
Vaqueros pricing, the higher rates they use to convince
6 13 Reservoir
Montgomery Street 7 drivers to work when demand is high. Uber said it
West 9
Powell Street Oakland 10
will provide refunds to passengers who pay full
8 Fruitvale San
a Ra
Civic Center San Leandro price (or surge prices before it was turned off)
16th Street Reservoir
CISCO Coliseum
immediately after a disaster.
24th Street San Leandro
Balboa Park 580
Castro Valley ARE DOWN?
Dublin/Pleasanton 580
Daly City
Oakland Uber said it will alert its drivers and provide
International Bay Fair
101 information from authorities about how they
Airport Livermore
West Dublin/ Pleasanton might be affected.
Hayward Pleasanton
South San Francisco
nc sco 12
San Francisco 92 Del
International Airport Valle Uber said it will pick up the tab for a driver
Millbrae Sunol
Union City version of surge pricing. In other words, pas-
San Mateo Bridge San Antonio sengers will pay standard, discounted or free
Fremont Reservoir rates, but drivers will make extra money by work-
Fos er City
te C ty
S an
n ing during disasters. Lyft did not respond.
eo 84
1 Be
m o
880 Uber requires cell service to function and
Warm Springs/South Fremont
would be taken out of action. Lyft did not re-
Redwood City spond.
Dumbarton Bridge
Half Moon Bay 280 Calaveras
S A N M AT E O Milpitas
S A N TA C L A R A Through a program called Open Homes,
COUNT Y 82 237
COUNT Y Airbnb offers its website and customer support
Pacific Norman Mineta to folks whod like to provide free short-term
Ocean Portola Valley Mountain View San Jose International housing to people displaced by disasters and
Sunnyvale 680 relief workers. It contacts hosts in and near im-
Santa Clara pacted areas to ask if they have extra space to
San Jose spare. New hosts can also sign up during disas-
Cupertino ters to provide free housing. Airbnb waives its
84 280 booking fees for both hosts and guests.
Todd Trumbull / The Chronicle Carolyn Said
W28 | San Francisco Chronicle and | Sunday, November 19, 2017

WITH LOVED 1 Parents should ask child care
providers or schools what their
policy is for when a catastrophic
1 Try texting if calls arent
going through.
1 Call people your missing
loved ones are close to other
friends or relatives who might

disaster hits and whom theyll need know where they are.
to call if children need to be moved.

Disasters arent predictable. Fires dont fol-
low the rules. And earthquakes shake up the
best-laid plans. 1 For tracking down missing loved 1 Check social media 1 Check in with their neighbors,
ones, persistence matters. There Facebook, Twitter, Instagram employer, school or church any-
That can mean family members might not may be several roadblocks before to see if they are online. where they usually hang out or
be able to meet at prearranged points or call one contact method pans out. spend time.
that out-of-state relative for status updates.
When thats the case, the Red Cross encourag-
es people in a disaster to use its national web-
site or contact local chapters to check in as
safe and well or to find someone whos miss-
But finding missing or displaced family and 1 Try calling the people youre 1 Email. Even if a phone is 1 For those in distant locations, try
friends after a devastating event can be over- searching for during off-peak gone, those who are miss- sending a snail-mail letter that has
whelming and confusing. hours, when the working lines are ing might still be able to a good chance of getting forwarded
less clogged. log on to a computer. if the person missing has relocated.
Here are a few tips that may help:
Jill Tucker


Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to start a claim. If you have to
move out of your house, most policies will pay for living expenses up to a certain

FOR ASSISTANCE amount of money and time. You can usually get an advance to cover temporary
housing, food and other immediate needs.
If you believe your insurance company is not treating you fairly, file a complaint
with the California Department of Insurance and consider hiring a public adjuster
So your life has been upended by a disaster. There are to represent you. If the treatment is egregious, consider hiring an attorney.
plenty of places you can turn for help, but it pays to act as
soon as you can. Here are some avenues you can take:
If your home is damaged or destroyed, you may be eligible for property tax relief.
FEDERAL ASSISTANCE File a claim with your county assessors office within 12 months. The assessor
See if you qualify for individual assistance from the can reappraise the property in its current condition and potentially refund some
Federal Emergency Management Agency. You could be taxes. When you rebuild, the value of your property before it was damaged will be
eligible if your loss is part of a presidentially declared restored. Also check with the IRS and California Franchise Tax Board to see if
disaster. FEMA can provide grants and low-interest they have extended tax-filing deadlines for disaster victims.
loans to cover uninsured losses, up to certain limits. For
more information:
If you lose your job as a direct result of a presidentially declared disaster area
MORTGAGE RELIEF and are not eligible for regular state unemployment benefits, you could qualify
for up to six months of unemployment benefits from a federally funded program
If you have a mortgage, contact your loan servicer. You called Disaster Unemployment Assistance. For more information:
can usually get at least a 90-day moratorium on pay- 2A73NCO
ments, temporary relief from foreclosure activity and
other possible assistance. Kathleen Pender
Sunday, November 19, 2017 | San Francisco Chronicle and | W29

VITAL RESOURCES For those who want to dig further, heres where to find
supplemental disaster preparation and safety information:


1 Living in earthquake country OR OTHER DISASTER TECHNOLOGY
-Your-Family 1 Wildfires 1
1 2005/15/gip-15.pdf 1 B06XCY92JV
1 1 1
-Space Survival kits -To-Do-If-Trapped powerwall
1 Understand your risk. Cal Fire main- 1 1
1 Fire recovery
tains maps of areas prone to wildfire, panels
1 1 1 http://powerequipment
and cities and counties are required to
keep safety plans that contain proce-
Preparing your home loads/pdf/publications/fa_46.pdf
dures for evacuations and communica- wattage-calculator
1 1
tions. 1 http://powerequipment.
1 1 Quakes
fire_prevention_wildland_zones_maps 1 wattage-calculator
dropcoverholdon 1
Family resources 1
FAMILY FIRE SAFETY 1 Trinka and Sam: The Day the 1
Earth Shook, a childrens book: -for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/
Preparation earthquake#Before
1 trinka-and-sam-day-earth-shook 1
-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of 1 Sesame Street Emergency Pre- Earthquakes/Pages/qh_earthquakes_what.aspx
-emergencies/fire paredness Toolkit:
1 Regrouping
app/uploads/2017/07/FPW17 ready 1 Check in as safe and well with the Red Cross:
ParentLetter1.pdf 1 Family Earthquake Preparedness
Checklist: zf/safe/add
Information for children, parents and 1 Search for a family member via the Red
teachers emergency/eq_familyprep.pdf Cross:
Pet safety zf/safesearch/search
Preschooler fire safety 1 1 Family finder phone apps:
1 pet-care/disaster-preparedness


A major disaster may knock out power, and Internet and phone If youve managed to maintain Internet
service, a few websites may be helpful:
service along with it, leaving you with little access to the outside
world. That was the case for much of Sonoma County during U.S. Geological Service for earthquakes:
the recent wildfires. In these situations a battery-powered radio 1
is your best way to get information on whats going on.
Cal Fire for wildfires:
Tune in to AM radio. In the Bay Consider buying an emergency
Area, KGO 810, KCBS 740 and KNBR radio. The radio includes channels Nixle for local public safety details:
680 carry regular news updates, and that regular AM-FM radios dont 1
each is set up to run emergency in- get, including essential weather
Social media sites for information on
formation broadcasts from local and disaster broadcasts from the
friends and family.
authorities. During a disaster, the city National Oceanic and Atmospher-
of San Francisco will sound its warn- ic Administration. To find your And reliable news sources, such as
ing sirens, which is a cue to listen in local NOAA station, visit: 1 and
to the emergency info. (The sirens 1
Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle are tested at noon every Tuesday.) coverage/stations.php?State=CA
Kurtis Alexander
W30 | San Francisco Chronicle and | Sunday, November 19, 2017



The magnitude of the largest record-

2 to 3
ed earthquake in U.S. history. It

2 7
The number of times The number of people struck Prince William Sound, Alaska,
per year a family who die in house fires in on March 28, 1964.
should practice a fire the U.S. every day.
escape plan.
The average number of earthquakes

in California per year large enough to
cause some property damage.

The probability, or likelihood, of at

least one earthquake of magnitude
6.7 or greater striking somewhere in
the Bay Area before 2043. Earth-
quakes of this magnitude are capa-

5 10
The number of min- The frequency ble of causing widespread damage.
utes it can take for a in years that

house to become fully your smoke The number of significant
engulfed once a fire detectors need

has broken out. to be replaced. faults in the Bay Area: the
Hayward, Calaveras, Con-
cord-Green Valley, Green-
ville, Rodgers Creek, San
The number of days of food,

Andreas, Mount Diablo,
water and medical supplies you
The percentage of and San Gregorio.
should have stored to survive
U.S. wildfires started
after a major quake.
by humans.

Follow along on your

favorite social networks

@sfchronicle @sfchronicle
Sunday, November 19, 2017 | San Francisco Chronicle and | W31

DISASTER CHECKLISTThings you should do before and after a disaster strikes

B Download this guide as a PDF (see page 2 for instructions)
B Download apps that will be useful during an emergency (page 19)
B Research where to find emergency information, including radio stations, social networks,
websites and public safety alerts
B Microchip your pets
B Take photos of your belongings
B Review and update your insurance coverages
B Make copies of your important documents and store them in a safe place or on the cloud
B Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors at least twice a year
B Replace your smoke detectors at least once every 10 years
B Check your fire extinguishers and make sure they and other firefighting tools are easily
B Pack emergency survival kits for your home and car dont forget items for your pets
(pages 10 and 12)
B Plan and practice family escape routes from your home, including a meeting place (page 9)
B Have family discussions about safe places in the home in case of an earthquake
B Assign family members responsibilities during an emergency, such as contacting other
family members, turning off the gas and gathering pets
B Know where your gas shutoff valve is and have necessary tools easily accessible
B Maintain a defensible zone around your home (page 6)
B Notify PG&E if you notice unsafe power lines
B Identify combustible building materials and avoid or replace them if possible
B Prepare your home to survive a massive quake (page 14)
B Consider buying alternate power and communication devices

B Contact your insurance provider and start a claim as soon as possible
B Seek federal assistance, mortgage relief, tax relief and unemployment benefits
B Never touch downed power lines
B Consider counseling as you rebuild your life
B Reach out to family for your sake and theirs
W32 | San Francisco Chronicle and | Sunday, November 19, 2017