California has the highest amount of seismic activity among almost all the states. A recent 3.6 magnitude earthquake hit Northwest Westwood, California shaking many homes and workplaces. Although the damage was minor, it was a surefire wake-up call on the emergency preparedness of our state. In 1906, a catastrophic earthquake with a 7.8 magnitude hit San Francisco, California leading to hundreds of thousands of people affected. Homes were destroyed, lives were lost, and the infrastructure was completely obliterated. Many seismologists and geologists suggest that based on the recent seismic pattern of California as well as the shift of tectonic plates could potentially lead to the “Big One” earthquake occurring relatively soon in California. It is imperative that we are well-aware of the consequences that will occur once the earthquake strikes and what preemptive measures to take to ensure our safety and livelihood.
Although living in California has the perks of beautiful weather, readily accessible beaches and mountains, the downside comes with living along one of the largest fault lines in the world. The San Andreas Fault spans almost 1300 kilometers in length, and throughout some very inhabited areas of California. An earthquake of epidemic proportions can lead to waves and waves of aftershocks, potential for flooding and perhaps even a tsunami. With California’s susceptibility to wildfires, death tolls could rise imminently due to fire damage. We should also note that many of California’s aqueducts that house reservoirs of water are built along the San Andreas fault, which would mean water could potentially be scarce and other resources could be extremely limited. An earthquake could potentially close off access to certain parts of California as many pipelines are built through the prominent I-15 freeway, ensuing a great potential for massive gas explosions. Researchers estimate that there could be a potential of $200 billion in damage, over 50,000 injuries and possibly 2,000 deaths from an earthquake of this magnitude.
There are many measures to prepare for an event of catastrophic proportions. Having the right supplies readily available during an emergency situation can mean saving lives or prolonging time until rescue. As Californians, we should actively be preparing for the next big earthquake. Studies suggest that we could be susceptible to extreme damage to our homes and even our livelihood. Preparing and understanding the repercussions of such an epic disaster can alleviate stress and panic when the situation occurs. To ensure you, your employees, friends and family are ready, you should always refer to guidelines set in place by FEMA. These guidelines dictate the necessary precautions you’ll need to take. It also outlines what items you should have on hand to prepare for an earthquake. The checklist of items includes: flashlights, first aid kit, portable, battery-operated radios, fire extinguishers, special documentation such as IDs, spare clothes, fire extinguishers and other miscellaneous items vital to your survival. Performing drills, knowing exit routes and having strong verbal communication with your close ones can mean saving lives for the future.
As the leading provider of environmental, health and safety training, NATEC International prides ourselves in over 27 years of service to our clients. We want to keep our clients completely informed and aware of not only regulatory and administrative, but in society and our environment as well. With offices strategically located all over California, we offer the best coverage for all of your environmental, health and safety training and consulting needs. We are the largest training provider in California! With our experience and dedication to our clients, we strive to keep your employees informed, trained and certified to comply with state and federal regulations. To better assist others and potentially save lives, we also offer onsite First Aid, CPR and AED training in conjunction with the American Heart Association.
In a recent press release published by OSHA and the USDOL, CVS Pharmacy was cited for repeated violations of OSHA 29 CFR 1910.38, not having a written Emergency Action Plan in place when there are more than 10 employees within a work location. CVS Pharmacy was cited a proposed $40,000 in fines for the violation. This alleged violation stemmed from utilizing a boilerplate emergency action plan that was written for multiple retail stores within the general vicinity. The press release emphasizes the fact that a separate written emergency action plan must be in place for each location, as various hazards and plans can differ on the basis of floorplans. This also makes it clear that IF YOUR FIRM DOES NOT HAVE AN ACTIVE EAP, SERIOUS FINES CAN BE IMPOSED. These fines can lead to great financial burdens and perhaps the possibility of bankruptcy to a firm.
According to OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.38 (a), employers MUST have an emergency action plan in place. Employers with 10 or fewer employees can communicate EAP’s orally to employees in lieu of a written plan. These emergency action plans must include: procedures for emergency evacuations including types of evacuations and exit route assignments, employees whom are to remain to operate critical plant functions and operations prior to evacuation; accountability of all employees post evacuation, procedures for performing rescue and medical duties as well as the name or job title of every employee that can provide information regarding the plan or duties within the emergency action plan. An employee alarm system must be set in place as a distinctive signal for various purposes in accordance with CFR 1910.165. Employers shall also designate and train certain employees to assist in safe and orderly evacuations of other employees in the event of an emergency. Yearly reviews of the emergency action plan must be set in place by the employer, especially when employee assignments for the emergency action plan are changed, responsibilities and duties change, or the plan as a whole is changed.
Call us today to see how we can help write and develop, or revise your firm’s Emergency Action Plan today. We also have OSHA related training courses such as the OSHA 10-Hour Training and the OSHA 30-Hour Training to ensure your firm is up to date with all the regulations and certifications requirements. We also offer Lead and Asbestos Training Courses, Heavy Equipment Courses including Forklift and Crane Operator, Safety Training including First Aid/CPR, Fall Protection, Confined Space and Trenching and Shoring, as well as HAZWOPER and Hazardous Materials related training courses.
Download our FREE emergency supplies kit checklist here! Make sure you have enough supplies to weather any disaster and prepare for the worst. We want you, your firm, your employees as well as your friends and families to feel safe.