In Santa Rosa, April 18th, at 5:13 a.m., 109 years ago, just about every business in the downtown area was in ruins and most of the homes were severely damaged. This quake is known worldwide as the S.F. 1906 Earthquake; however, most of its damage in S.F. was due to the fires that swept through the downtown area. Many of the water mains were damages so that it was difficult for the S.F. first responders to fight the fires.

Since Santa Rosa was built on aluvium soil deposits, the earth shook severely. Its Fire Department also had difficulties combating the fires because its water system was also ruined by the quake. The following day, all three San Francisco newspapers stated that Santa Rosa was “a total wreck.” Over 100 people died, and many of the nearby towns were damaged. Fortunately, Petaluma and Sebastopol suffered less damage and sent volunteers and equipment to help clear up the debris.

Our 115th Emergency Preparedness blog (March 15, 2015) titled, “Oh, No! Not Another Earthquake Warning” quoted Pete Goles of the Press Democrat as follows: “, “Ho hum, a new quake warning?” He reminds us that the April 18, 1906 quake was “the most cataclysmic event in the history of Sonoma County. Downtown Santa Rosa was reduced to a pile of bricks …. No home or building was left undamaged.” He goes on to give us the latest statistics from the U.S. Geological Survey: “Within the next 30 years, researchers say that there is a 7 percent chance an 8.0 or greater magnitude earthquake somewhere inh California. The potential for such in the Bay Area (i.e. the Rodgers Creek Fault) is less than 0.01 percent. The possibility of smaller quakes, greater than or equal to,  were also reported: 6.7 magnitude – 13.7 percent, 7.0 magnitude – 11 percent, 7.5 magnitude – 6.9 percent.”

As we have been saying for several years, its not a question of IF, but WHEN. We know many homeowners believe they are prepared and ready for a quake; but, how will they communicate if most if not all the electric power is lost? Emergency Blog #115 describes how a local Neighborhood HamWatch Network provides a way for any licensed Amateur Radio Operator can step up to the plate and serve as an emergency communicator for his neighbors. The blog states that: “The goal of the Neighborhood HamWatch program is to provide a way for every capable Amateur Radio operator who isn’t involved in a deployed active ARES® operation to serve his/her community in an emergency communication role.  Program objectives include: 1) Communicate neighborhood conditions to local EOCs. Emergency Managers will be provided access to first-hand information. They will handle heath and welfare messages, report crime and fulfill other communications needs. 2) Relay information from local Emergency Managers back to their neighbors so they are better informed of relief efforts.”

If you know any Hams in your neighborhood who might be interested, please have them contact me for more information. whammer@petalumanet.org