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Media Release

Recent Goldfields earthquakes a reminder to be prepared
Wednesday 3 August 2016 – 10:00 AM

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is advising Goldfields residents to ensure they are ready for earthquakes, with experts warning a spate of recent quakes could be a sign of things to come.

Although impossible to predict, Geoscience Australia says the recent swarm of smaller quakes could indicate potential for larger earthquakes in the future.

“While we recognise the Goldfields area does have a higher seismic risk than some other places in WA, seismologists cannot predict when or where earthquakes of any size may occur,” Geoscience Australia Duty Seismologist Steve Tatham said.

“The current activity however is quite similar to an earlier episode that occurred during the mid to late eighties and so not unprecedented for the region.”

The Goldfields, from Kalgoorlie and south to the Norseman area, has recorded an average of 10 earthquakes of magnitude 2, 3 or greater per year over the past 30 years.

Norseman alone has seen 47 earthquakes this year, with a 5.6 magnitude quake the state’s strongest in almost 30 years.

DFES Goldfields Superintendent Trevor Tasker said it was important to know what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

“Earthquakes have the potential to cause major damage and loss of life, so it’s important to be prepared,” Superintendent Tasker said.

“Get ready now so you and your family know what to do to stay safe when an earthquake occurs.”

Superintendent Tasker said there were simple things people could do to prepare.

“Talk to your family about where you’ll meet if separated by an earthquake and prepare an emergency kit that will last you for several days,” he said.

“Identify the safest, strongest part of your house where you can shelter if a quake occurs, and remember to check that your insurance covers earthquake damage.”

Western Australia has the highest incidence of earthquakes in Australia and has recorded some of mainland Australia’s most powerful earthquakes.

For information about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/earthquake


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