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April 14, 2010 > Earthquake a good reminder to sign up for AlertSCC

Earthquake a good reminder to sign up for AlertSCC

Submitted By Gwendolyn Mitchell and Laurel Anderson

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake near the California-Mexico border and the recent earthquakes in Northern California and worldwide have area residents understandably concerned about seismic activity.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimates more than 500,000 detectable earthquakes worldwide each year ( and recorded 1,839 earthquakes of a magnitude 3.0 or greater in the United States in 2009 ( That is more than five earthquakes a day, on average, in the United States.

While the recent seismic frequency is not an anomaly, it is a reminder to prepare for the possibility of a more significant emergency event. According to the most recent report from the USGS in 2008, the overall probability of a magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquake striking the greater Bay Area in the next 30 years is 63 percent and the likelihood of such a quake occurring in all of California is 99 percent.

"Santa Clara County experiences earthquakes, wild fires, and other disruptions as do many other areas," said County Executive Jeff Smith. "It's always a good idea to prepare and know what to do before, during and after an emergency event."

In the event of an earthquake or other disaster event, Santa Clara County residents can receive life-saving information through the County's new emergency notification system, AlertSCC, which can send messages to land lines, wireless devices and e-mail addresses of people who have signed up at Signing up for AlertSCC is easy and free.

"AlertSCC can deliver important information, whether it is which routes to avoid on your commute due to flooding or how to shelter yourself after a devastating earthquake," said Smith.

"Recent earthquakes remind us disaster can strike without notice and we must be prepared before emergencies happen," said Ken Yeager, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. "I encourage all Santa Clara County residents to be better-equipped by signing up their mobile devices on AlertSCC."

AlertSCC can be used for a variety of emergency and community service notifications, such as earthquakes, evacuations, floods, fires, crime incidents, terrorist attacks, hazmat incidents, infectious disease information, contaminated food warnings, road/school closures, and contacting disaster service workers.

The emergency notification system is an automated system with the capacity to send thousands of text and voice messages within minutes to home and business land line phones, cell phones, PDAs, laptops, desktop computers and devices for the hearing impaired. While the system uses 411 and 911 databases to call land line phones, if a resident or someone who works in Santa Clara County wants to receive notice by email or on their cell phones, they must sign up at

AlertSCC will not take the place of 911 and other communication and notification systems (such as radio announcements) that first responders currently use. Personal contact information provided by residents when signing up for AlertSCC will only be used for official notifications. It will not be shared, sold, traded, leased or loaned to outside parties, per policy and contract agreements binding the County to these standards.

For more information or to sign up to receive AlertSCC messages, go to

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