Surviving The Big One

Five years since Napa earthquake: Here’s what we’ve learned

Surviving The Big One

NAPA (KRON) — Be prepared — That is the best lesson Cathryn Becker, the owner Calamity Jane’s Trading Company, learned from the 2014 earthquake in Napa

“Try to be cautious and cognitive of what we put where so if there is an earthquake, minimize the damage,” Becker said. 

In her shop downtown, shelves holding specialty items from local artists are now bolted to walls and displays are wheels for a reason.

“Everything moves a little, hopefully it will move with the earthquake,” she said. 

The U.S. Geological Survey has been studying the west Napa fault.

The agency learned how shaking travels across the Bay Area and that the fault will likely not produce an earthquake much bigger than the one that already happened.

“Recovery is 10 times harder than the disaster,” said Napa Mayor Jill Techel. 

Techel believes the earthquake exposed her city’s resiliency.

The city dealt with 120 water main breaks and now in new construction, the city uses flexible PVC pipes instead of metal.

The city also knows it’s important to get building inspectors out as soon as possible and remove debris immediately.

“You need to document, document, document in order to take advantage of the federal programs that are out there,” she said. 

Mayor Techel told KRON4’s Justine Waldman she learned it was imperative to encourage people to come back to the tourist area and to not resist mutual aid.

Coming together is key, she said.

“Government has to be part of it but it takes your whole community working together to heal, be resilient and to get back on your feet,” the mayor said. 

Scars from the quake are still present — a reminder of the past and how to flourish in the future.

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