Moving to California? Read This First.
California is a state that has earned a reputation around the world for its beautiful, diverse landscape, famous cities, and for being one of the major cultural and creative hotspots of the US. However, California is also prone to natural disasters, including earthquakes and fires. If you’re planning on moving to California, give this article a read first – it’ll prepare you for living in a truly unique part of the country that has a lot to offer and a few important risks to consider.
Fast Facts About California
California is the 31st state to be founded in the US. Founded in 1850, the state of California is nicknamed “the golden state” because of the discovery of gold in the late 1840s that sparked the gold rush that you might remember from your US history class in grade school. The name “California” is derived from a Spanish book from the 16th century – California, in the book, was an island paradise.
California is a coastal state, sitting along the West coast of the United States. California’s beaches are on the Pacific ocean. Above, below and to the right of the state sit Oregon, Mexico, Nevada, and Arizona, respectively. Because California is an extremely long state (the third largest in the country behind Texas and Alaska), it is very diverse in terrain and climate. This means you can run into a number of different weather conditions and types of inclement weather and natural disasters throughout the state.
Why Move To California?
California is famous for its natural beauty and the many opportunities found in the state in the professional realm and for leisure. If you love outdoor activities like hiking, surfing, camping, and boating, California is the perfect place for you. With its forests, caves, deserts, coastal cliffs, and more, the state is absolutely gorgeous, offering much to anyone who enjoys exploring the outdoors.
In addition, California offers unique career opportunities to those in creative fields like actors and musicians. Because the state is a cultural hub, many artists move there to push forward in their careers. More movies have been made in California than any other state, and many of the country’s most beloved bands call the state home. It’s also a hotspot for visual art, dance, and more. If you love culture and make art for a living, California might just be your dream location.
California And Earthquakes
Of course, as with any other state, there are pros and cons to living in California. While the terrain may be beautiful and the opportunities may be abundant, the state is also prone to numerous natural disasters, especially earthquakes and wildfires.
The state of California sits on multiple active fault lines, meaning the area is prone to a significant amount of tectonic activity. Fault lines are segments of the earth’s crust where two tectonic plates meet. At a fault line, tectonic plates either move towards each other, away from each other, or past each other. The direction the plates move depends on the type of fault line. Fault lines are categorized as either normal, reverse, or strike-slip. The movements of the plates on these fault lines cause friction, which can be felt across the surface of the earth as an earthquake.
The largest fault line in California is the San Andreas fault, a strike-slip fault. A strike-slip fault is a line between two tectonic plates where the two plates move past each other. This motion can cause high-magnitude earthquakes that can damage the buildings, infrastructure, and terrain on the surface of the earth.
When you move to California, it’s essential to know what to do in the event of an earthquake. If an earthquake happens, you need to be prepared to protect yourself during the quake, but also to care for yourself and your family in the aftermath. If you find yourself in the midst of an earthquake while in your home, your first move should be to immediately seek shelter from windows and objects that could fall. Next, cover your head and stay low to the ground.
If an earthquake occurs while you are in your car, try to pull over rather than attempting to drive home. The only exception to this rule is if you are on a bridge or in an area where infrastructure could be damaged by the quake. If this is the case, do your best to quickly relocate to a safer spot before parking your car and staying put until the quake ends.
To stay ready for earthquakes, it’s important to keep an emergency preparedness kit on hand. Your kit should come with you wherever you go and contain non-perishable food and water, first aid supplies, emergency blankets, and more. Later in this article, you’ll learn more about what you need in your emergency kit to prepare for your move to California.
California And Wildfires
At certain points in the year, parts of the state of California can become extremely dry, even to the point of causing droughts. When the ground and flora in an area gets dried out, the potential for natural or manmade fires to spread and turn into wildfires increases. California has experienced numerous high-profile wildfires in recent years that forced many of the state’s residents to evacuate.
Wildfires can be caused by lightning striking and starting a fire in a dry area. When there is an abundance of dry brush in an area where a natural fire starts, there is significant potential for the fire to spread and end up overtaking large parts of the terrain. Human carelessness and negligence can also cause wildfires. In instances where people have inadvertently caused wildfires, these fires could have largely been prevented with more thought and consideration.
If you are planning on moving to California, make sure you are prepared with an evacuation plan and survival kit so that you can stay safe in the event of a wildfire. Moving to California means accepting the risks that come with the states often dry terrain and making sure that you have what you need to protect yourself and your family if a wildfire occurs.
Before You Move, Get An Emergency Kit
If you’re ready to make your move to California, go the extra mile and get yourself an emergency preparedness kit. Since the state is prone to natural disasters like earthquakes and wildfires, it’s best to be prepared when you arrive. A good emergency kit should contain survival supplies for 72 hours without power, food, or water available.
For your emergency kit, look for high-calorie, non-perishable food sources like energy bars that can keep you full for a long time if you don’t have access to food in the wake of a disaster. In addition, you’ll need a non-perishable source of water as well. Water bottles can expire, so instead opt for water pouches, which have a shelf life of up to five years.
First aid supplies are also essential for your emergency kit, as well as resources for personal hygiene like hand sanitizer. In addition, make sure your kit contains a source of light that does not require batteries to operate, as well as an emergency charger for your phone. These items will ensure that you can see if your power goes off due to a natural disaster. If the worst happens, you want to make sure you are prepared, and you won’t regret taking the extra steps to get there.
If you have additional questions, send them our way!