FEMA to Californians: Be Cautious, Expect Aftershocks

While there have been no reports of major damage or injuries in Los Angeles, San Diego, or Tijuana, some buildings in downtown Los Angeles reportedly swayed for several seconds, prompting some precautionary evacuations.

Responding to Tuesday's earthquake measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale that struck southern California at 11:42 local time and was followed by more than 30 smaller aftershocks, FEMA said it is working closely with its federal and local partners and stands ready to support if needed. The initial quake was centered approximately 30 miles east-southeast of downtown Los Angeles near Chino Hills in San Bernardino County. The U.S. Geological Survey initially reported that the earthquake had a magnitude of 5.8, but later revised its estimate downward to 5.4 magnitude; it said southern California will likely experience additional aftershocks, the strongest of which thus far has measured 3.8 magnitude.

While there have been no reports of major damage or injuries in Los Angeles, San Diego, or Tijuana, some buildings in downtown Los Angeles reportedly swayed for several seconds, prompting some precautionary evacuations. A flood of phone calls made after the earthquake initially overloaded telecommunications systems in southern California. Los Angeles International Airport did not sustain any damage, though tiles reportedly fell from a United Airlines gate after a water pipe burst. The earthquake briefly disrupted the airport's ground radar system, but it did not affect any flights. LA/Ontario International Airport also did not sustain any damage, and there were no flight disruptions, nor were there any reports of electrical outages in Los Angeles. Rides at Disneyland, which is located southeast of the city in Anaheim, were evacuated.

FEMA said it will continue to monitor and coordinate with the State of California regarding the quake and, meanwhile, urges residents to be cautious and prepared for more earthquake activity. The agency issued the following advice:

  • Expect aftershocks. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television. Listen for the latest emergency information.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls. Local police and fire departments advise that you stay off your phone unless you are reporting a life-threatening injury or fire. Unnecessary calls to report the earthquake or to check on friends or relatives could keep life-saving calls to 9-1-1 from getting through. 9-1-1 should only be used to request immediate help for life-threatening emergencies. Do not call 9-1-1 to ask questions.
  • Stay away from damaged areas. Stay away unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire, or relief organizations. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Listen to your local emergency management official. Local police and fire departments are currently responding to this incident and addressing immediate emergencies. Stay tuned to local broadcasts for current information.

For more information on what to do after an earthquake, visit www.ready.gov. For tips on protecting your families and property go to www.earthquakecountry.info/roots/index.php.

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