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Earthquake Preparedness


This Action Plan applies to earthquake events. In general, these events occur without any lead times, making it impossible to take proactive measures. Response and recovery can be time consuming during such events, and they can involve loss of service, and injuries to utility personnel.

During the Earthquake

An earthquake usually occurs without any type of warning. Due to the suddenness, all personnel should attempt to find immediate shelter. This may include:Standing in a doorway and bracing your hands and feet against each side.Getting under a desk or heavy table.Standing flat against an interior wall.Do not seek cover under laboratory tables or benches as chemicals could spill and harm personnel.


Keep away from overturned fixtures, windows, filing cabinets, and electrical power.Provide assistance and / or call for medical help for injured employees as needed. Use the telephone only to report life-threatening emergencies.If major structural damage has occurred, order a complete evacuation. DO NOT USE ELEVATORS. Avoid electric wires, poles and equipment, once outside. The building should be inspected by trained personnel for damage before reentry.Protect from further damage by putting on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes, and work gloves.Look for and extinguish small fires. Eliminate fire hazards.Expect aftershocks.Monitor the radio for instructions.Stay calm and await instructions from the designated Officials.

Earthquakes can cause significant power outages because of the impact on outside generation and transmission lines. After a major earthquake, power might be interrupted for an extended period of time over the entire operations area. In this instance, power restoration will most probably be slow and, depending on the infrastructure damage, localized. Some isolated areas could take considerably longer for power restoration than others.Be prepared for aftershocks. Although smaller than the main shock, aftershocks cause additional damage and may bring weakened structures down. Aftershocks can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, even months after the quake. Follow the same procedures as for earthquakes. This document was complied/summarized with permission from the California Rural Water Association

Access the Problem

In general, a previously organized team will undertake the following activities:Activate personnel accountability network to check for injury of staff.Contact emergency assistance (local police, local fire department, rescue squads, etc.) as necessary to respond to injuries of staff.If buildings have any sign of damage, such as cracked walls, broken windows, downed power lines, do not enter, but wait for trained personnel.If buildings appear safe, cautiously inspect condition of interiors for damaged equipment, leaks, chemical spills, etc.Assess condition of electrical power feeds and switchgear.If a SCADA system is in place, and working, immediately review the system for all types of malfunctions, including telemetry, pressure in the distribution system, and operation of pumps and other equipment.Inspect facilities for structural damage, including: buildings, storage tanks, pipelines, and process equipment. Consider the use of an outside engineering consultant.Communicate all findings via radio to assigned personnel, as appropriate.Prioritize and repair water main leaks.Contact neighboring purveyors for mutual aid arrangements, and open connections as needed.Respond to side effects (loss of power, fire, chemical spills, etc.).Designated Officials are to notify customers, media, and state and local authorities if service is disrupted or if significant demand management is necessary.

Report Findings

Assemble relevant personnel to review effectiveness of action plan and reinforce lessons learned.

This information was complied/summarized with permission from the California Rural Water Association