Everyone who lived here in Sylmar in 1971 and 1994 knows that the earth quakes once in awhile. The earthquake experience is part of living in Southern California. The resulting roller coaster in real estate values is also something we have come to expect, depending upon the damage done and recovery time.
You know what? Many people I have talked with who have moved to Sylmar from areas where tornadoes and hurricanes are almost annual events will say they would rather take their chances in earthquake country. They have told me that they don’t really get scared because they can’t see or hear about an impending earthquake hours in advance. They are willing to live here without the recurring seasonal fear of weather conditions out of their control in other parts of the country.
So be it. Not having fear is one thing, but being prepared for the eventual “Big One” is a responsibility we all must take. Katrina taught us all a sorrowful lesson: that government will not save us. We must be prepared to save ourselves.
On Thursday, November 13, 2008, there will be a massive unified effort region-wide to make everyone in the Southland better prepared to survive an earthquake and to get prepared for the “Big One.” The event is called The Great Southern California Shakeout, and is the largest earthquake simulation in United States history. At 10 a.m. that day, millions of people in Southern California will simultaneously participate in the emergency preparedness drill called “Drop, Cover and Hold.” Wherever they are, whatever they are doing, they will stop, find cover, and stay put for at least 60 seconds while the imaginary “Big One” passes.
You can learn more about the drill and register to participate at www.shakeout.org.
In addition, more educational events are scheduled during the days following the practice drill. A North Valley Preparedness Event will be held Sunday, November 16, 2008 from 2 – 5 p.m. at LA City Fire Station 87, 10124 Balboa Blvd. (the new one just south of Devonshire). Local community groups will have earthquake preparedness information and displays.
How You Can Prepare for Earthquakes
1. Check your home or office for any items that might fall or fly during an earthquake, and either move them or secure them.
2. Create a personal or family earthquake or disaster preparedness plan and be sure every family member knows it and your standard procedure for communicating if you are separated. Remember, cell phones may not work after a disaster.
3. Organize or refresh your emergency supply kits with at least 3 days supply of food and water, medical supplies, and don’t forget the same thing for your pets!
4. Check your house for any structural problems that could be dangerous in an earthquake and fix them.
5. Visit Dare to Prepare to see other steps you can take.
6. Consider obtaining earthquake insurance if you don’t already have it to help protect from loss and damage from the “Big One.”
There is still time to involve your communities and community organizations, schools, neighbors, places of worship, friends and family. The more people who sign up the better! The goal of the shakeout is to get 21 million people to pledge their participation and your help is needed. Please sign up today! There is also a wealth of knowledge at the Great ShakeOut website that can assist you in your preparedness and outreach efforts.