Recovery efforts continue following Tuesday’s M6.4 earthquake. Recovering from any type of disaster takes time and Humboldt County has a long road ahead.
Prior to cleaning up your home or business after an earthquake, record and photograph all damages. Having a record of damages may be necessary for insurance and other recovery processes. Residents are encouraged to report earthquake damages to the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services at: https://humboldtgov.org/FormCenter/Office-of-Emergency-Services-23/Damage-Report-20221220-Earthquake-216
When you are ready to clean up, use caution. Wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work gloves and sturdy thick-soled shoes. Do not try to remove heavy debris by yourself. People with asthma and other lung conditions and/or immune suppression should not enter buildings with indoor water leaks or mold growth that can be seen or smelled. Children should not take part in disaster cleanup work.
Report gas leaks immediately to PG&E at: 1-800-743-5000
If your water was shut off, your water can be turned back on once repairs are made. If a water main was broken, the water may need to be run for a few minutes until the water is clear of dirt and debris. Where water mains have broken, check humboldtgov.org/emergency for any requirement that water be boiled prior to use.
Boil water advisories are currently in effect for:
If you are under a boil water advisory, do not drink the tap water without boiling it first. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one (1) minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.
Potable water is available at the following locations: Rio Dell Fire Hall, 50 West Center Street, Rio Dell and Rohner Park Pavilion, 9 Park Street, Fortuna.
Post-earthquake safety building inspections are being conducted in severely impacted communities. Building inspectors look for indications of damage due to the earthquake that would make the home unsafe to occupy or would require limits on occupancy in parts of the home or commercial buildings. If a “yellow tag” is placed on a building, it will indicate limitations on its use, such as a limited period of time for residents to remove their belongings, beyond which the home may not be occupied. A “red tag” indicates that the entire home is thought to be a potential hazard to life and cannot be entered or occupied until knowledgeable design professionals are able to further evaluate the conditions and determine required stabilization methods to allow retrieval of possessions or required repairs. If a red tag is assigned, you will be asked to leave the building immediately.
Hiring a Contractor
Don’t rush into repairs, no matter how badly they’re needed. Property owners are reminded to use licensed contractors for any repairs above $500. Ask to see the license. Impacted residents can find a licensed contractor at CSLB’s Find My Licensed Contractor. Get three bids, check references, and get a written contract. Don’t necessarily take the lowest bid, especially if it’s much less than other bids. To learn more tips, visit: Contractors State License Board
How can you tell if a contractor might not be reputable? Here are some tactics scammers use:
- Scammers knock on your door looking for business because they are “in the area.”
- Scammers say they have materials left over from a previous job.
- Scammers pressure you for an immediate decision.
- Scammers ask you to pay for everything up front or only accept cash.
- Scammers ask you to get any required building permits.
- Scammers suggest you borrow money from a lender they know.
Work with your local building department to make sure you understand the rebuilding process and take advantage of all services they can provide. Don’t sign over any payment checks from your insurance company.
To learn more tips, visit: Contractors State License Board
An earthquake and its aftermath can be both physically and emotionally overwhelming. Talk with your family about how they are feeling. Children and older adults are of special concern in the aftermath of disasters. Contact local volunteer agencies, professionals, or faith-based organizations for counseling. Reach out to neighborhood or community organizations and get involved. Your voice is important in deciding how your community will recover and rebuild in the years to come.
The most important thing you can do while the community recovers is to keep informed.
For updated information regarding the Humboldt County earthquake response, please go to humboldtsheriff.org/emergency and visit @HumCoOES on Facebook and Twitter, or call 707-268-2500.