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Are We Ready Yet?

Posted by on Jun 21st, 2012 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Numerous booths provide information on everything from insurance to safety tools.

CERT members review safety measures with residents who attended the Emergency Expo on Saturday.

CERT members review safety measures with residents who attended the Emergency Expo on Saturday.

By Mary O’KEEFE

Residents in the area who attended last weekend’s Emergency Expo at Two Strike Park are more prepared – and maybe a little scared – of the next time the earth starts to shake. Which is just fine by Doug Given of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Given is leading the USGS Earthquake Early Warning effort and was a guest speaker at the expo.

He spoke of the 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake that occurred on the southern section of the San Andreas fault. In that event, the heaviest loss was at Fort Tejon but that loss is small compared to what a large earthquake on the San Andreas could do today.

“At that time, there was very little population here,” Given said. “When that earthquake occurs again, or one like it on the southern San Andreas, the affects are going to be severe.”

Doug Given of the U.S. Geological Survey warned of the dangers associated with a 7.9 earthquake.

Doug Given of the U.S. Geological Survey warned of the dangers associated with a 7.9 earthquake.

The first step in preparing for the “big one” is to know more about what residents of Southern California will be facing. USGS scientists have prepared a scenario of what would happen when a large earthquake from the southern San Andreas occurs.

The “what if” scenario looks at a rupture of the fault extending from the Salton Sea to Palm Springs, past San Bernardino through Wrightwood and as far as Lake Hughes.

“A 180-mile rupture creating a 7.8 earthquake,” Given said. “That is a very realistic scenario.”

That “what if” earthquake would shake for over a minute and a half, he added.

The last big earthquake that most Southern California residents remember is the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

“The Northridge … was small [compared to the scenario],” he said. “This is like 40 Northridge earthquakes strung end to end.”

The shaking would be intense and last longer.

“Are you scared yet?” Given asked.

The scenario estimates 2,000 fatalities, half of those from fire, with 1,600 different ignitions across the Los Angeles area.

As good as our local fire departments are, is there any way they will be able to get to all of the fires? Given asked.

The rest of the deaths will come from structural collapse but that does not take into consideration heart attacks.

“About 50,000 people will need medical care,” he estimated.

Those injured would need to be taken care of at critical care facilities.

There will be no water, power or communications for days.

“We need to be prepared for that kind of eventuality,” he said.

To assist in preparations, there were several booths at Saturday’s expo that helped educate and prepare residents for that scenario and others including fire.

Los Angeles County Fire, Southern California Edison and local CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) were just some that were on hand to help get residents prepared for earthquakes and any emergency.

For information on how to prepare for fire visit  http://fire.lacounty.gov and click on the left column Ready! Set! Go!

For information on earthquakes, visit http://earthquake.usgs.gov.

To get involved locally, those interested in joining CERT in Crescenta Valley can contact Deputy Jorge Valdivia at the CV Sheriff’s Station (818) 236-4021 or contact CERT coordinators Paul or Lisa Dutton (818) 249-8378.

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