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Top 5 Disasters

Do you know which types of disasters affect Orange County the most and how to prepare for them?

Orange County has a mild climate and generally stable weather. However, like all of Southern California, Orange County is in a seismically active area and is prone to flash floods, landslides and fire. Coastal communities could be exposed to a tsunami.

Every year California experiences approximately 500 earthquakes that are large enough to be detected and felt by local residents. Since Orange County has a number of seismic faults, earthquakes are almost an expected part of living here. Residents should be prepared by identifying safe places in each room of their homes and taking other precautions such as securing furniture and checking for gas leaks.

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Drop! Cover! Hold On!

Wildfires are among Orange County’s leading disasters because the terrain is prone to brush fires in the hot summer months when vegetation is dry. Residents in all sections of the county should take steps to make their homes less vulnerable to wildfires.

Consider retrofitting your home with ignition resistant features that can mean the difference between a few repairs and a complete rebuild after a fire. Clear vegetation in a 100-foot radius around your home, make sure the garden hose can reach any room and cover your chimney, vents and rain gutters with metal mesh or screens to prevent embers from spreading.

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Flooding is one of Orange County’s most likely disasters. Flash floods can strike any time with little or no warning turning Orange County streets and freeways can into rivers within seconds. Most flash flooding is caused by heavy rains concentrated over the same area and also from run-off from local hillsides and clogged storm drains.

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Landslides, also known as mudslides or debris flow, occur frequently in Orange County.

These disasters can be caused by a variety of factors including earthquakes, storms and fires. Landslides can occur quickly, often with little notice, and the best way to prepare is to stay informed about changes in and around your home that could signal that a landslide is likely to occur.

Also exercise caution when traveling through areas where mudslides have recently occurred because of heavy debris, mud and flooding.

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Tsunamis are series of traveling ocean waves of extremely long length generated by disturbances associated with earthquakes occurring below or near the ocean floor. Both types of tsunamis, remote and local, have affected California.

Remote tsunamis have been the most frequent to hit California and are generated by earthquakes off the coasts of Japan, Alaska, Hawaii and Chile. The most significant remote tsunami to hit southern California was in 1960, when an 8.6 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Chile generated a tsunami that caused major damage to the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors.

Local tsunamis are generated off the coast of Southern California. Since 1800, only four locally generated tsunamis have been observed.

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