Why aren’t you prepared?
If you don’t have a well stocked earthquake kit, and family meeting plan for what is expected to be inevitable in Southern California — even though you know or heard about the importance of being prepared — you aren’t alone
Dr. Irwin Redlener from the National Center for Earthquake Disaster Preparedness from the Earth Institute at Columbia University has said Americans in general are grossly unprepared for the next disaster.
“We are horrified to learn of violent tragedies, acts of terrorism in the United States, soon after we are lulled back to complacency as life returns to ‘normal’ and the news cycle ends their coverage,” Redlender said.
“There is still the mindset that these natural disasters and acts of violence happens to someone else, somewhere else.”
People continue to believe that outside help will be available somehow, even though experts in the field have warned that 9-1-1 systems will be overwhelmed and not likely to respond to your emergency.
So you must be prepared to help yourself, your family and your neighbors as 9-1-1 is not likely to respond.
For people worried day-to-day about finding a job or paying the rent, stocking up for an earthquake is a low priority, Redlener pointed out. And with high premiums and deductibles, having earthquake insurance is too costly for many people.
But despite more than 2,000 earthquake faults in California and the very volatile San Andreas fault in Los Angeles and Southern California, experts still struggle to find ways to engage the public to take action.
The problem may stem from not having many people being involved in such an event, according to the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC)
“Many people have not experienced a “big” one in their lifetime. Millennials have not gone through one,” a CUSEC spokesman said. “You may not appreciate the kind of damage and destruction that can occur.”
The last major earthquake to rock the San Fernando Valley occurred in Northridge in 1994.
This is why California Earthquake Authority (CEA) was reminding Californians that no part of the state is without earthquake risk and urging everyone to get better prepared through the Great California ShakeOut drill on Thursday, Oct. 20.
Dearborn Elementary School in Northridge was joined by MySafe:LA, the Los Angeles Fire Department, and the Earthquake Country Alliance that prepared first responders, students and teachers, and community-members for the “Big One.” The drill included students professionally made-up to look like they’ve been injured in the quake, and simulated post-quake scenarios managed by the teachers and the first-in LAFD fire company.
Other drills and events were held throughout the Southland.
The Great California Shakeout event is the opportunity for people all over the world to practice what to do during earthquakes—drop, cover, and hold on!—and to prepare for earthquakes in other ways.
“California is earthquake country,” said CEA CEO Glenn Pomeroy. “We don’t need to live in fear, but we do need to be prepared and know what to do when the ground starts shaking. That’s why ShakeOut is so important.”
Californians often hear that they live in “earthquake country.” Here’s why:
• Some 2,000 known faults exist in California, and scientists continue to find new ones. Just this month, researchers announced the discovery of the Salton Trough fault in Southern California. The discovery was announced just after a swarm of more than 200 small quakes in the Salton Sea prompted an earthquake advisory to be issued.
• Since the magnitude-6.7 earthquake in Northridge on Jan. 17 1994, California has experienced more than 1,100 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater—all around the state. Examples include the magnitude-6.6 San Simeon earthquake on the Central Coast in 2003, the magnitude-7.2 Baja California earthquake in 2010 and the magnitude-6.0 Napa earthquake in 2014.
• Scientists say there’s a 99 percent chance of an earthquake the size of Northridge occurring in California again in the next 30 years. Earthquakes as large as 8.3 are also possible though far less likely.
• According to the U.S. Geological Survey, 30 of the 48 earthquakes in the United States that have proved deadly have occurred in California. The Northridge earthquake damaged or destroyed 82,000 residential and commercial units and 5,400 mobile homes. Seven major freeway bridges in the area collapsed, and 212 were damaged. The damage cost estimate reached $20 billion in damages, and $49 billion in economic loss
“California is a beautiful place to live, but it does have seismic hazards that can be dangerous,” Pomeroy said. “ShakeOut is an opportunity for people to take action now to improve their preparedness, before the next earthquake strikes.”
More than 10 million Californians — 3.4 million in Los Angeles county — had signed up for the Great California ShakeOut drill on Thursday, officials said.
“ShakeOut is a way for California communities to prepare together, so that we’re better able to survive and recover when the next earthquake happens,” said Mark Benthien, outreach director for the Southern California Earthquake Center and global coordinator for Great ShakeOut earthquake drills.
“The California Earthquake Authority has been a committed partner in promoting ShakeOut throughout the state since its beginning in 2008.”
In addition to knowing what to do during an earthquake, Californians should be better prepared before one by securing their space, creating a disaster plan and organizing disaster supplies.
They can also take steps to minimize their financial hardship, by organizing important documents, strengthening their property and considering earthquake insurance (including loss-of-use coverage in case their home is not habitable after an earthquake and they need to live or eat elsewhere).
In Los Angeles county only 16.7 percent of residential who have homeowners insurance also have earthquake insurance. The figures are believed to be lower among renters, although no exact totals were available.
Californians can learn more about earthquake preparedness by reading the “Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety” or visiting EarthquakeAuthority.com.