Friday, January 15, 2010

The 1906 Earthquake — Our History

Everybody who lives in San Francisco should know about our historical earthquake -- the one that happened 104 years ago.

San Francisco, called "the Paris of America," was knocked down in the early dawn on April 18, 1906. Fires erupted, buildings fell down, and people were injured. The day before, it had been very hot and dry. No wind. Not at all. The magnitude of the earthquake was 7.7. States from Oregon to Nevada all felt a small part of the shaking.

San Francisco, at the time, was still a new contribution to the U.S. But the city already had 410,000 residents with 63,000 more a few months later. There were 42 banks, 120 places of worship, and also 3,117 places to buy liquor. Amazingly, some restaurants back then are still open today. They include Tadich Grill, Fior D'Italia, and Schroeder's Cafe.

San Francisco is right along the San Andreas fault. It is a daily worry for some that a sudden earthquake may hit. Here are some tips:
  • When an earthquake hits, get under the nearest wooden object as soon as possible. A wooden object can include a table, a desk, or a chair.

  • If you're in bed, get under the blankets and hold a pillow over your head. Other than that, you can also get under the bed.

  • During a fire, try to get out as fast as you can. If you are in a room, feel the door with the back of your hand first before opening it. Also, cover your mouth and nose with a piece of cloth so the smoke doesn't get to your lungs.

  • If you get fire on your body, you — stop, drop, and roll. I learned in a fire prevention assembly at my school.

  • At home, parents can prepare safety kits for the family. You can include water, unperishable food, extra clothes, cash, a record of the house, a record of your car and car insurance, family member I.D.'s, flashlights, and something to comfort the kids.

At our school, we do a fire and earthquake drill about every 2-3 months. A loud alarm goes off and, depending on which drill, we have a few different procedures. During the earthquake drill, students get under their desks or under the doorway (our school was safe from the 1906). A second alarm goes off and the teachers lead their students out onto the sidewalk. During a fire drill, the students are expected to run out of the school onto the sidewalk and wait quietly for their teacher to take roll.

Parents who would like to be added to Hillwood Academic Day School's email notification in case of emergencies can contact Mr. Graham Clarke at

Read Rubina's story about the terrible earthquake that happened in Haiti.

To see what Market Street looked like before the earthquake and fire, watch this video:

Picture and Article Source:, pictures

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