Schools Postpone Some Activities Due to Quake Fears

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    Centralia School District in Buena Park postpones after-school activities after the Governor's Office of Emergency Services issues a notice to be prepared for earthquakes.

    Dozens of small earthquakes continue to rattle the Imperial County area near the Salton Sea, following a moderate 3.9 shaker that struck at 8:25 p.m. Wednesday and a 3.0 at 10:12 p.m. Since Saturday, scientists have recorded at least 175 quakes near the Salton Sea area, including several that were magnitude-3.0 and larger.

    Scientists are keeping close watch on the area's increased earthquake activity because it is near a section of the San Andreas Fault that has not ruptured in more than 300 years.

    SoCal City Braces for the Big One

    [LA] SoCal City Braces for the Big One
    Centralia School District in Buena Park postpones after-school activities to prepare for earthquakes. (Published Thursday, March 26, 2009)

    There have been no reports of damage or injury.

    But at least one school district canceled after-school activities for Thursday and Friday after the Governor's Office of Emergency Services issued a notification to emergency coordinators around the state to be aware of the recent series of earthquakes.  The intention of the email was to remind everyone to go over his or her earthquake plan.

    But there was one section that Centralia School District Superintendent Diane Scheerhorm found particularly alarming.  The advisory said, ""There is increased concern that these earthquakes could trigger a large earthquake (M 7.0+) on the San Andreas itself.  We believe there is a 1% to 5% chance of a large earthquake over the next few days."

    "We have five schools with Open House events that have been postponed until next week," said Scheerhorm, "we just don't want to risk anything."

    Scheerhorm says emergency personnel are not on duty at evening school events and she was taking no chances.  "The number one issue with a crisis is to have children and staff with families and be safe," she said.

    Parents at Walter Knott Elementary School in Buena Park are mixed.

    Bobbie Courtright agrees with the District's move, "It's a good idea," she said, "It's safer that way."  Her husband disagreed.

    "There's no safe structure to be under," said Jason Courtright, "when it's the Big One, it's the Big One and there's nothing you can do."

    A spokesman for the Office of Emergency Services said the email was only intended to remind people to be prepared. 

    A U.S. Geological Survey source said the state's email may have been a little strongly worded and thus he was not surprised about the reaction at Centralia.  He added there is no cause for concern, but that it was a good idea to go over one's earthquake plan.

    Seismologists continue to say they cannot accurate detect a coming earthquake, however the recent swarms do appear to have a pattern of slowly moving now into a southeastwardly direction.