Emergency Caches Promote Awareness

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The contents of emergency supply caches-which include radios, generators and other supplies-were displayed by the Berkeley Fire Department yesterday. They will be stored in the Greek and co-op communities.

The caches, sponsored in part by the American Red Cross, are part of the first disaster preparedness program in the nation to train and supply students.

Cleya Ormiston, member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority and legislative aid for City Councilmember Gordon Wozniak, and Kenan Wang, a former Interfraternity Council president and member of Chi Phi fraternity, both worked with the city to develop the new program.

The caches and training are geared towards the event of an earthquake, which Peggy Hellweg, a researcher in the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, says Bay Area residents should be prepared for at any time.

"We find that the average recurrence interval (of earthquakes) is 140 years," Hellweg said.

This cannot accurately predict earthquakes, but as 2008 is the 140th anniversary of the last Hayward fault rupture, city and campus officials say they will be prepared.

"We know our students are on their own," said Grahaeme Hesp, director of fraternity and sorority life for the center for student leadership.

The city has a similar program for residents, and has placed more than 30 caches throughout the city for use in case of emergency.

With a 62 percent chance that a 6.8 magnitude or greater earthquake will occur in the Bay Area before 2032, city officials are dedicated to the safety of Berkeley.

"Berkeley is going to stand prepared," said Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong.

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