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THE BAY AREA QUAKE : What If? : HOW SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WOULD HAVE FARED : Bracing for Fury and Fire, Sirens and Looters : What You Can Do to Cope With Effects of Earthquake

October 20, 1989|PAUL FELDMAN

When a powerful earthquake strikes, be it in Whittier, Armenia or the Bay Area, it sets Los Angeles residents to thinking.

"Any time there is a quake anywhere," says Vickie Sanders, a spokeswoman for Vons, "we notice a slight increase the next few days in sales of bottled water, canned good and safety items such as flashlights, batteries and medical supplies."

Unfortunately, such forward thinking is short-lived.

"It usually isn't an overwhelming rush," Sanders says, "and it usually doesn't last more than a couple days."

Following is a list of reminders of what to do to cope with earthquakes:

Prepare supplies, including:

* Flashlights with spare batteries.

* A first aid kit and instructional handbook.

* Portable radios with extra batteries.

* Fire extinguishers.

* Airtight containers of water and purification tablets or liquid chlorine bleach to disinfect water.

* A supply of canned or dehydrated foods, powdered milk, juices and nutritional food items that do not require water for preparation.

* A manually-operated can opener.

* A barbecue, camp stove or other alternate means of cooking.

* Plastic trash bags.

* Gloves.

* Matches.

* Bathroom items including toothpaste, toilet paper and soap.

* A pipe wrench and crescent wrench for turning off gas and water mains.

Prepare plans, including:

* How to shut off electricity, water heaters, water mains and gas. (Do not, however, shut off the gas unless you suspect a leak or can smell escaping gas).

* How to purify water.

* Where to reunite your family.

* The safest places to take cover in your dwelling.

During the earthquake:

* If indoors, stay there. Duck under a desk or table. Stay clear of windows, fireplaces and heavy appliances.

* If outside, get into the open. Stay away from buildings, trees and power lines.

* If in a car, pull to the side of the road. Stay away from overpasses, bridges or power lines.

For further information, the front section of telephone directories includes a survival guide with first aid information for earthquakes and other emergencies.

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