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September 16, 2005
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USGS Offers a Handbook with Vital Earthquake- Preparedness Tips to Bay Area Residents

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Geological Survey is distributing a useful, and perhaps lifesaving, earthquake-preparedness handbook as a special supplement in this Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle.

"Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country - Your Handbook for the Bay Region" is a practical, informative guide for Bay Area residents on earthquake preparedness. Hurricane Katrina's disastrous aftermath serves as a stark reminder that natural hazards can strike suddenly, putting millions of Americans in harm's way and that preparedness is key to survival.

The handbook describes the likely impacts of future earthquakes in the Bay Area and gives the seven important steps that people should follow to prepare for, survive and recover from earthquakes.

"The recent tragic disaster in the Southeast underscores the necessity of being prepared. Quakes are inevitable in the Bay Area and will likely come without warning," USGS' Mary Lou Zoback said. "Our goal with this handbook is to motivate Bay Area citizens to take simple steps now to make their families, homes, schools and workplaces safer before the next quake or other disaster strikes."

A USGS-lead team that included a wide array of Bay Area earthquake and emergency response experts developed the 32-page, soft-cover handbook. They based it on a publication that USGS and the Southern California Earthquake Center designed, following the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

"The American Red Cross will be working over the next three years to get more than one million additional families in the Bay Area prepared for a large earthquake," said Harold Brooks, CEO of the Red Cross Bay Area Chapter. This handbook will play an important role in our training efforts.".

Home-improvement stores in the region are widely distributing an almost identical version of the handbook to the Bay region in the Sunday, Sept. 18, edition of the San Francisco Chronicle. Published separately, the insert contains a coupon for earthquake-mitigation products.

"All Californians need to be made aware of earthquake hazards and how to survive them," John Parrish, California state geologist, said. "This handbook is a valuable primer for preparedness."

The USGS handbook is free and available as a published product and online at Paper copies of the handbook can be ordered at

Free copies of the handbook are also available through the Bay Area chapter of the Red Cross by calling (510) 595-4459. "Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country" is part of the 1906 Earthquake Centennial Alliance effort to make the Bay region safer and more prepared for the next damaging earthquake. With assistance from more than 200 member organizations, plans include translation of the handbook into Spanish, Chinese, and likely several other languages in the spring of 2006.

For more information about the 1906 Earthquake Centennial Alliance and upcoming events to commemorate the Great Earthquake of 1906 visit