Officials across Humboldt County on Monday said they haven't received any reports of damage or injuries as a result of a magnitude 6.8 earthquake that shook the North Coast on Sunday night.
”Nothing's changed,” Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Lt. Steve Knight said. “We're very grateful and relieved.”
Everyone from emergency response crews to city officials to hospital employees echoed the sentiment.
”Just a bunch of frayed nerves,” Eureka police Chief Andrew Mills said. “It was very straightforward. We got a few calls but nothing significant.”
Knight said the dispatch center received some residential alarm calls, and a few people called 911 to see if there was an earthquake. He added calling 911 to inquire about an earthquake is not appropriate.
While no major damage has been reported so far from the quake, initially reported as a magnitude 6.9 quake by the U.S. Geological Survey, officials are warning North Coast residents to be prepared.
”We do live in an earthquake zone,” Knight said. “We may not get so lucky on the next one.”
He said the sheriff's office recommends people read the publication “Living on Shaky Ground” that was compiled by many experts, including Humboldt State University geology professor Lori Dengler.
People also should have an adequate water supply to last a minimum of three days, know where the natural gas shut-off valve is, make sure the water heater is appropriately tied down with straps, and secure china hutches, book cases and large items, Knight said.
”Many people get injured during earthquakes trying to get out of a building, especially barefoot,” Knight said. “The more the public can do to educate themselves and earthquake proof their residence ... the better.”
Dengler said talking is the important first step.
”Literally talking about the hazards we have here, the potential problems and risks in your home, asking are we in a tsunami zone, how well would we do if we were trapped here?” she said. “There are lots of places to get information.”
Having a family plan is also necessary when living in earthquake country, National Weather Service spokesman Troy Nicolini said.
”Make it a fun family activity,” he said. “Get a backpack, get the things you need. Then practice a family drill ... make sure you know how to get to high ground for a tsunami and where to go.”
Arcata police Chief Tom Chapman said Sunday night's earthquake is a good reminder that during a local event there will not be time for widespread tsunami notification or a coordinated evacuation.
”People are going to have to assess that and decide whether or not it's appropriate to evacuate,” he said.
Nicolini said he advises if people are unsure to take that as an opportunity to practice.
”If in doubt, go ahead and drill,” he said.
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The North Coast is no stranger to earthquakes. This is a list of quakes going back to 1976 that registered magnitude 6 or greater. A number of these caused significant damage in the region, notably the flurry of earthquakes in 1991 and 1992.
November 1976 -- 6.3
November 1980 -- 6.9-7.4
September 1984 -- 6.6
July 1991 -- 6.7-6.9
August 1991 -- 5.9-6.3
August 1991 -- 6.0-6.2
August 1991 -- 6.9-7.1
April 1992 -- 7.1
April 1992 --6.6
April 1992 -- 6.7
September 1994 -- 6.9-7.2
February -- 6.6
July 1996 -- 6.0
January 2010 -- 6.5
March 9, 2014 -- 6.8
Source: Humboldt State University Geology Department
Blue Lake Public Works Supervisor Glenn Bernald said the city checked everything out and reported no damages.
”There were no reports or signs of damage, injuries or anything else like that,” Bernald said. “For the 2010 earthquake, I'm not sure about that one. With the earthquake that happened (Sunday) night, it was more of a steady shaking and not a sharp jolting that seemed to go on forever.”
”We've had no reported property damage and no reported injuries. We came out relatively unscathed,” said Ferndale Police Chief Bret Smith.
”No one called the police department about any difficulties within the first hour. Although it was very long we did not have any major incidents. We're still expecting people to call in if they have problems,” said Ferndale City Manager Jay Parrish.
Fortuna Police Department Chief William Dobberstein said patrol units working during the earthquake Sunday night did a check of the city to see if there were any damages.
”We checked the facilities and water tanks and everything looked good,” Dobberstein said. “There were no reports of anything significant and public works is doing a more thorough check today to make sure everything is good.”
”The staff is checking the facilities and structures today to make sure there's no damage and they'll continue to check the facilities to make sure there is no damage and everything is good,” Fortuna City Manager Regan Candelario said.
Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department Chief Lon Winburn said there were no reports of damage that came into the station Sunday night.
Loleta Fire Protection Chief Ray Stonebarger said not one report of anything came in to the department during Sunday's earthquake.
”Any reports would have gone through the Community Services Office,” Stonebarger said. “But we had no reports of damage to structures or roadways or anything like that.”
”To the best of my knowledge so far, we have not sustained any damage anywhere. From what I've heard, this earthquake seemed to roll more than the one in 2010,” said Trinidad Public Works Director Bryan Buckman.
”We didn't have any reported damage in Rio Dell. It shook for quite some time here. Possibly, because of the location of the earthquake, there was no damage reported,” said Rio Dell Police Officer David Lungi Jr.
”We don't have any reports of damage,” Susie Townsend City of Rio Dell senior fiscal assistant.
CalFire Battalion Chief Jeremy Monroe said they received no reports of damage or injuries and the command center was doing checks last night when the earthquake happened.
”There's nothing about this event that's out of the ordinary, but it's a good reminder to people to be prepared because something worse could happen,” Monroe said. “I always tell people that a good website to visit for preparedness tips for your family and/or your home is www.ready.gov because it has a lot of good planning and preparing tips.”
Scott Burger, a spokesman for Caltrans, said night shift workers during the time of the earthquake went out to check the roads especially in Fortuna, Ferndale and Fernbridge.
”There was no damage at any of those areas and we also checked the bridges and roadways on US 101 and 299,” Burger said. “In response to significant earthquakes like (Sunday) night, we will do follow up checks to make sure that everything is still OK.”
”We didn't have any reports of road closures in direct relation to the earthquake. There were no reports of cracks or damages to roads. This is good reminder to all of us that we live in an earthquake-prone area. Check your earthquake kits. It sounds like according to dispatch, part of hillside had slide into roadway and it was unpassable for a time, on Redwood Drive right next to Evergreen Road in Garberville. I don't know if we can contribute it to the earthquake, because of the extensive amount of rain we've had in last few days,” said California Highway Patrol Officer Matt Harvey.
”I've spoken with the local gas supervisor, the local electric supervisor and two supervisors at the power plant, one for each of the respected sides. Our infrastructure has been inspected and there's been no damage identified,” said Pacific Gas and Electric Co. spokeswoman Jana Morris.
”Nobody from the intensive care unit or emergency room currently knows of anyone who has come in with injuries from the earthquake,” said Mad River Hospital Marketing Public Relations Manager Vicky Sleight.
Sarah Beach, director of patient care services for the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District, said their buildings had no damage and they saw no patients with injuries related to the earthquake.
”Immediately following the earthquake on Sunday, crews checked on all patients, staff and areas of both St. Joseph and Redwood Memorial hospitals for any earthquake-related damage. We are happy to report no injuries to patients or staff as a result of the earthquake,” said David O'Brien, MD, president of St. Joseph and Redwood Memorial hospitals.
”We didn't experience any damages, and our services were up and running throughout and after the earthquake” said Suddenlink spokeswoman Wendy Purnell.
”There was minimal cosmetic damage in the mall and no structural damage,” said Bayshore General Manager Mall Kirk White.
Crescent City Public Works Director Eric Wier said many of the residents around the community felt the earthquake.
”We have taken a look at the municipal facilities and structures and haven't seen any damages in the preliminary check,” Wier said. “Compared to the 2010 earthquake, we didn't really see any damage then and we were fortunate to not have been so close to the epicenter.”
Crescent City Manager Eugene Palazzo said there were no damage reports or anything that happened to the city during the earthquake.
”It was a little bit of a roller but we didn't feel any of the aftershocks,” Palazzo said. “We were actually having a meeting (Monday) morning about our tsunami preparedness for next week and we also talked about the earthquake.”
Crescent City Emergency Services Manager Cindy Henderson said there were no reports of any damage or injuries.
”It was a gentle shaking here for about 12 or 13 seconds and Facebook and Twitter were buzzing with comments,” Henderson said. “We had books and pictures fall off shelves but nothing bad.”
Henderson said compared to the earthquake in 2010 -- which was more of a violent jolting -- this one was more of a gentle shaking and rolling.
”This was kind of the perfect timing for the anniversary of the 1964 tsunami because we are going to be doing a live code evacuation test on March 26 where we'll have sirens, emergency alerts on the TV and civil air patrols talking about the drill -- just like if it were real,” Henderson said.
Del Norte County Sheriff's Office Commander Bill Steven said he did not hear of any reports from last night except one person calling in to say they had some pictures fall off the wall and Steven noticed a battery fell off his desk.
”It was pretty minor around here, and there were no bricks, pipes or structures damaged,” Steven said. “Sometimes we'll get reports from the grocery stores about things falling off the shelves, but that wasn't the case this time.”
Steven said in the case of earthquakes to always be prepared by having a go bag to get out the house or to get in a doorway in the event that they cannot get out of the house.
”Also, if you're in a low-lying area, like a harbor or the beach, get to higher ground and once there get in touch with someone to find out what's going on and when it will be clear to go back to your homes,” Steven said. “I'm not saying that everyone should have evacuated during the (Sunday) quake, but in a more significant situation, you'll want to be prepared.”
In their own words:
* “I thought it was a 3 or 4 because it was just rocking,” Arcata resident Mike Labolle said. “There was never any big jolt.”
* “At first I thought it was going to be a small roller, and then as it picked up a little more I realized it was going to be larger than the 3 or 4 I'm used to,” McKinleyville resident Carlos Casarez said. “The television cabinet and bookshelf started to sway as if they were going to topple. Fortunately, it wasn't any bigger than it was so I was able to hold the bookshelf and television entertainment center. If I hadn't braced it they both would have fallen over.”
* “I walked through my house and there were no cracks,” Eureka resident Dave Prendergast said. “I was surprised.”
* “I was at my friends house cooking dinner,” Eureka resident Jessica Prendergast. “My friend's 7-year-old was scared. We had him in the doorway between us. He wouldn't let go of us when it was over. He ran over to the coffee table and hid. He said he would watch TV from there. He didn't want to come out.”
* “I was just trying to get to my kids,” Eureka resident Katie Cassidy said. “I wasn't sure if it was going to get worse than it was. ... It's just scary because there's no warning, and you don't know how bad it's going to be.”
* “Our dogs heard it before we did,” Eureka resident Tahni Morris said. “I thought it was a delivery truck because we have them go by our house. It sounded like a big rumbling initially.”
* “I was worried because I was there for 1992, and it was really big,” Kneeland resident Tanya Crowley said. “It felt like it was a big one again. My dogs were pretty freaked out, too.”
Lorna Rodriguez can be reached at 441-0506 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @LornaARodriguez.