SPA’s Keith Porter and Charles Scawthorn lead a session at the National Earthquake Conference in Long Beach CA, which offered lessons for emergency managers and local governments drawn from a hypothetical Mw 7.0 earthquake on the Hayward Fault in the San Francisco Bay Area. A key focus of the study is the potential for fire following earthquake. Lessons from the study included:

  • Large fires increase exponentially with earthquake magnitude in a major urban area
  • Gas seismic shutoff devices in selected high-density areas can significantly reduce the problem
  • CERTS (Citizen Emergency Response Teams) can also mitigate the problem to some extent, but fire response is essential
  • Damage to buried water pipes = loss of firefighting water and dry hydrants
  • For fire departments to have a chance, they need special training and equipment to access alternative water supplies, and
  • A state-wide emergency water supply system is needed.