From Naval Public Affairs Support Element West:
Naval Base San Diego hosted an Earthquake Preparedness Resource Fair, Aug. 6, to help prepare military members and their families in the event of an earthquake.
The fair, sponsored by Navy Region South West's Sustainable Solid Waste Program, featured 16 organizations with subject matter experts.
One organization gave attendees a sense of realism when an earthquake strikes.
"Here today is an earthquake simulator," said Jim Guerin, Regional Family Emergency Response coordinator. "Participants are able to come inside a living room setting and without notice, they begin shaking and experiencing the feeling of an 8.0 magnitude earthquake."
Guerin added that it is important that Sailors in the area understand that Navy Region Southwest is an earthquake prone area and that the simulator is just one way to be better prepared.
Representatives from San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) attended, demonstrating what happens with electricity and downed power lines after an earthquake has occurred. They showed how electricity can be conducted through a person's body and told participants how to avoid being shocked, which could ultimately save lives.
"I found that the SDG&E display was very informative," said Chief Quartermaster Michael Webster. "The electrical demonstration really opened my eyes to the dangers of electricity after an earthquake. I am currently the disaster preparedness officer at my command, and I encourage everyone to attend events like these, because we are not experts and we never really prepare enough."
Some of the other booths included the County of San Diego Office of Emergency, Armed Services Blood Program, Southwest Search Dogs and the American Red Cross.
"This fair sets you and your family up and helps you to be more secure," said Tony Gomes, work and family life consultant for the Fleet and Family Support Center. "You can never prepare for the earthquake itself, but you can be prepared for what happens after."
Gomes, an earthquake survivor, described his experience as if it had happened yesterday.
"It was 15 years ago and I was in my home," he said. "Earthquakes are something I never really thought about, then all of a sudden a magnitude of about a 7.5 hit. I can honestly say I thought the world was coming to an end. Everyone was running around, trees were falling, honestly it was one of the worst experiences in my life."
The fair gave families a chance to fill out an emergency plan, get some emergency kits and overall receive a better understanding of earthquakes and the effects that follow.
"When service members are deployed, their family is here in San Diego with their children, and in southern California unfortunately we are known for earthquakes," said Gomes. "The service member being thousands of miles away, the family should know what is going to happen. Whether it's a fire, flooding, or an earthquake, it's better to be prepared than to be hit by tragedy and not be able to know what to do and to also know your resources."