Over the past week, our area has experienced a series of small earthquakes. These tremors, along with the 20th anniversary of the Northridge earthquake last Friday remind us how important it is to be prepared for a disaster.
I’m sure that most Southern Californians can recall just where they were and what they were doing when the massive Northridge earthquake struck. I vividly remember watching the devastation on the news and comforting my wife and young children and trying to ease their fears. The magnitude 6.7 tremor that occurred on January 17, 1994 killed 50 people, injured over 5,000, and caused more than $20 billion in property damage.
The recent earthquakes in our area serve as a reminder that a major earthquake like the one that occurred in Northridge can strike at any time and underscore the importance of having a fully developed and well-rehearsed family disaster plan. Having been an Emergency Medical Technician for 29 years I have seen from first-hand experience that being prepared for a disaster can dramatically increase the chances of survival.
Federal geologists with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) have regularly concluded that there’s a greater than 99% chance that the state will experience a 6.7 or larger earthquake in the next 25 to 30 years. Yet, according to a March 2010 report released by the Alfred E. Alquist Seismic Safety Commission:
- Only 40% of Californians have made family disaster plans.
- Less than 35% of Californians have learned how to make their home structure safer or how to safeguard their finances in case there is an earthquake.
- Fewer than 20% of California households have purchased earthquake insurance (the California Earthquake Authority maintains that this number, as of 2012, is actually closer to 10%).
- Less than 20% have participated in neighborhood disaster planning; and
- Hispanic respondents were the least likely among all racial/ethnic groups to prepare.
The California Earthquake Authority has offered a new line of products to make earthquake insurance options affordable for many homeowners. Participation in The Great Shakeout, the annual nationwide earthquake drill held each October, has increased dramatically in recent years with 9.6 million Californians “ducking and covering” during 2013’s event. In September, Governor Jerry Brown signed a measure into law (Senate Bill 135, Padilla) to lay the foundations for the development of an Earthquake Early Warning System in California, and his recently released 2014-15 Budget Proposal restores $1.49 million for vital funding for earthquake fault mapping.
Please visit my disaster preparedness page for information on how to build a family disaster plan or how to compile an emergency preparedness kit for your vehicle, home, or workplace.
I want to make sure you and your family are properly prepared for a disaster.
If you have any questions about this or any other state related matter, please do not hesitate to call my district office at (909) 902-9606.