South Bay Uses New Zealand Quake as Wake Up Call

Are you prepared for a major earthquake?

Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011  |  Updated 5:45 PM PDT
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Remembering Loma Prieta 23 Years Later

AP

Murray and Kelly James look at their destroyed house in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011. Tuesday's magnitude-6.3 temblor collapsed buildings, caused extensive other damage and killed dozens of people in the city. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

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Emergency officials in Santa Clara County are using the devastating earthquake in New Zealand as a caveat to promote an important and free tool that we will need when the big one hits here.

It's called the AlertSCC emergency notification system. The technology will send messages through texts, emails or land lines to people in the South Bay in the event of an emergency. The text or voice message will tell you what to do and where to go. You need to sign up ahead of time of course at this link.

"The 6.5 earthquake that shattered the calm of a normal work day in Christchurch, New Zealand on Monday is a painful reminder that we are not entirely in control of the events that have the potential to affect our lives in a major way," said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith.  "It is in our power to take steps to improve the odds of making it through such tragic events."

All 15 cities in Santa Clara County are part of the project.

"Having the ground move under your feet can be very unsettling," said Kirstin Hofmann, Director of the County’s Office of Emergency Service.  "It is something that Californians live with everyday.  We can’t predict when the next large scale earthquake will hit, or how severe it will be.  We can let people know what to do or where to go through AlertSCC, if it’s a serious disaster."

AlertSCC has the capacity to send thousands of texts and voice messages within minutes.

It's worth noting here that cell phones and land lines will likely go down following any kind of disaster and for that reason emergency officials recommend everyone learn how to give and receive texts. Texts will get through, even if delayed.

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