The Haiti quake was a fairly shallow quake, as earthquakes go, and was of 40 seconds of duration. Just comparing Richter Scale readings is of very little value. The depth of an earthquake under land is as much of an indicator of severity as is the Richter Scale reading. California has a long history of earthquakes and has a large and wealthy economy too. Over many years building codes in California have been strengthened to attempt to mitigate earthquake damage. Many of the damaged buildings in Haiti were unreinforced concrete post & beam type of construction, and could not withstand the shaking.
A shallow quake of this level of severity with 40 seconds of side-to-side shaking near St. Louis or Memphis would have catastrophic consequences, as none of the older buildings in either city are designed to resist an earthquake that strong. The devastation would be similar to some of the bigger WWII aerial bombings over a wide area. Most if not all of the Mississippi River bridges would collapse, as would most other highway bridges within a certain radius of the affected area. Railroad tracks and highways across the fault would be skewed sideways and made unuseable. Warehouses and grocery stores would collapse, as would most shopping centers and malls. Huge fires would erupt from ruptured underground storage tanks and gas pipelines. Water mains would break as would sewer lines. How much food do you have on hand at home IF your house doesn't collapse? Do you have a tent, emergency drinking water and food stockpiled, a simple medical kit with painkillers and antibiotics? Maybe a camp stove or a propane-powered lamp or heater? What happens if it happens in the Twin Cities when it is -20 out??? How close do you live to an airport? Walking distance? Do you have a 4WD vehicle or a dirt bike with spare gasoline? Do you have a generator? Do you keep your gas tank full? Do you have a gun and some spare ammo? I could go on and on.....
I doubt that most of us living outside of California are nearly prepared for a natural disaster on the magnitude of Haiti's earthquake. What has happened to the people of Haiti is not their fault, it is the fault of a series of corrupt dictators. They finally overthrew Baby Doc Duvalier, but the next guy wasn't much better, the next one either. Haiti is even worse off than inner-city Detroit. Lucky it is tropical there, or things would be a whole lot worse.
I have about a month worth of dry food if I ration it, and enough stuff to drink for a couple of weeks. I have a 4WD pickup and a small motorcycle too. I do not yet have a generator but I am thinking of buying one. I have enough pain pills for an emergency, and I have enough liquor to get really drunk on. I have an electric oil radiator heater, which a generator would work well with. I have a tent too, along with a hand-crank radio and camp light. I have a gun too.
How much in the way of critical emergency stuff do you have stockpiled?
"We stay here, we die here. We've got to keep moving". Trucker Mark