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    Callifornia Earthquake Could Be the Next Katrina

    BE PREPARED--- AS WE HAVE SEEN THE GOVT. MAY NOT BE THERE----



    L.A. Times-
    __________________________________________________
    Callifornia Earthquake Could Be the Next Katrina

    U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones remembers attending an emergency training session in August 2001 with the Federal Emergency Management Agency that discussed the three most likely catastrophes to strike the United States.

    First on the list was a terrorist attack in New York. Second was a super-strength hurricane hitting New Orleans. Third was a major earthquake on the San Andreas fault.

    Now that the first two have come to pass, she and other earthquake experts are using the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as an opportunity to reassess how California would handle a major temblor.

    Jones, scientist-in-charge for the geological survey's Southern California Earthquake Hazards Team, and other experts generally agree that California has come a long way in the last two decades in seismic safety.

    In Los Angeles, all but one of 8,700 unreinforced masonry buildings — considered the most likely to collapse in a major quake — have been retrofitted or demolished. The state spent billions after the 1994 Northridge quake to retrofit more than 2,100 freeway overpasses, reporting this week that only a handful remain unreinforced.

    Despite these improvements, however, officials believe that a major temblor could cause the level of destruction and disruption seen over the last week on the Gulf Coast.

    More than 900 hospital buildings that state officials have identified as needing either retrofitting or total replacement have yet to receive them, and the state recently agreed to five-year extensions to hospitals that can't meet the 2008 deadline to make the fixes. More than 7,000 school buildings across the state would also be vulnerable during a huge temblor, a state study found, though there is no firm timetable for upgrading the structures.

    And four Los Angeles Police Department facilities — including the Parker Center headquarters in downtown — worry officials, because they were built to primitive earthquake standards and might not survive a major temblor. Only two of the LAPD's 19 stations meet the most rigorous quake-safe rules.

    "We could be dealing with infrastructure issues a lot like New Orleans," Jones said. "Our natural gas passes through the Cajon Pass…. Water — three pipelines — cross the San Andreas fault in an area that is expected to go in an earthquake." Railway lines are also vulnerable, she said.

    A catastrophic temblor at the right spot along the San Andreas could significantly reduce energy and water supplies — at least temporarily, she and others said. Researchers at the Southern California Earthquake Center said there is an 80% to 90% chance that a temblor of 7.0 or greater magnitude will strike Southern California before 2024.

    "We aren't anywhere close to where I wish we were" in terms of seismic safety, Jones said.

    Seismologists are particularly concerned about a type of vulnerable building that has received far less attention than unreinforced masonry.

    There are about 40,000 structures in California made from "non-ductile reinforced concrete," a rigid substance susceptible to cracking. This was a common construction ingredient for office buildings in the 1950s and '60s, before the state instituted stricter standards. Few such structures have been seismically retrofitted, officials said.

    Seismic safety advocates have also recently lost some major battles in Sacramento. The state rejected a proposal from the Seismic Safety Commission in the wake of the 2003 San Simeon earthquake to force owners of unreinforced masonry buildings to post warning signs. In that quake, two women died when the roof slid off of a two-story Paso Robles brick building where they worked.

    Last week, the Legislature sent to the governor's desk a bill that encourages local governments to develop retrofitting programs for "soft story" wood-frame apartment buildings.

    There are an estimated 70,000 such structures in the state, and experts worry that they could sustain major quake damage, because they often have tuck-under parking and lack solid walls at their bases.

    The danger of this kind of construction was illustrated in the 1994 collapse of the Northridge Meadows apartment complex, in which 16 residents were killed.

    There are other potential safety gaps as well.

    Although Los Angeles, Long Beach, Pasadena and several other cities have reinforced almost all their masonry buildings, about a third of such structures across the state remain unprotected, said Frank Turner, an engineer with the Seismic Safety Commission.

    A state study published last year on hazard reduction paints a sobering picture of California's earthquake danger. About 62% of the population lives in a zone of high earthquake danger, including 100% of the population of Ventura County, 99% of Los Angeles County and 92% of Riverside County.

    Since 1971, there have been at least 13 earthquakes of magnitude 6.0 or greater in the state, and research conducted after the 1989 Loma Prieta quake in the Bay Area found a 62% probability that at least one earthquake of magnitude 6.7 or more would strike the Bay Area before 2032.

    "We're pretty confident we have some of the best buildings in the world here, but … there are always going to be losses, because these are extraordinary events," Turner said.

    Still, Southern California's geography could help prevent a catastrophe on the scale of that in New Orleans.

    Because the Los Angeles region is so much larger than the Louisiana city, it is difficult to conceive of a disaster — "short of an A-bomb" — that would blanket the whole city, let alone the whole county, in ruin, said Lee Sapaden, a spokesman for Los Angeles County's Office of Emergency Management.

    Earthquakes tend to do the most damage closest to the epicenters. The 1994 Northridge quake, for example, damaged a large swath of the San Fernando Valley as well as parts of Hollywood and the Westside. But areas farther to the east and south, such as Long Beach and Orange County, saw little damage.

    A large quake in the Valley would probably still allow emergency supplies and rescuers to reach the area from other locations such as the San Gabriel Valley and South Bay, Sapaden said.

    Emergency crews would have better mobility than those in New Orleans, he added, because even if freeways were wrecked, aid would probably be able to get through the vast majority of areas on surface streets. "Here in Southern California, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and Santa Barbara counties would help us out, just like we would help them," he said.

    One of the biggest concerns of seismic safety officials is the fate of hospitals.

    The 1971 Sylmar earthquake pushed Olive View Medical Center a foot off its foundation, causing the first floor to collapse, killing three patients and a hospital worker. The 1994 Northridge quake knocked 23 hospitals temporarily out of service.

    After that quake, the Legislature passed a law requiring that hospitals retrofit buildings to withstand a major temblor or replace them with new ones. About 78% of hospitals have at least one building deemed at risk, said Jan Emerson, spokeswoman for the California Hospital Assn.

    But hospitals, many of which are fighting budget problems, have balked at the price tag — estimated at $24 billion for 2002-2030 — and in many cases have successfully pushed Sacramento to delay the retrofitting deadline. The state has already granted about 200 requests for extensions to make the necessary repairs by 2013, according to a state document.

    Safety officials said more work is also needed at schools.

    A 2002 state study found that more than 7,500 school buildings across California are expected to "perform poorly" in a major temblor.

    The Los Angeles Unified School District has completed seismic upgrades to nearly 2,000 buildings, spending $222 million on the effort, according to Richard Luke, director of design for the district.

    But the district has not finished upgrades on 600 portable buildings and will look at an additional 239 buildings identified by the Division of State Architect as possibly performing poorly during a major quake.

    Jones of the geological survey and Turner of the Seismic Safety Commission believe that one worst-case scenario would involve a massive temblor on the San Andreas fault around where major utility lines run, possibly compromising water and power supplies.

    "We should not be at all surprised if something similar to Hurricane Katrina mirrors itself in California," Turner said. "There have been lots of articles written about the failure of levees in the [Sacramento-San Joaquin] Delta, the loss of drinking water in California. This is just the tip of the iceberg."

    About 60% of Southern California's water is imported from outside the region in three major aqueducts that cross the San Andreas fault, making them particularly vulnerable to major earthquake damage.

    One branch of the 444-mile California Aqueduct, which carries water from the delta, virtually sits on top of the fault for a few miles near Palmdale. A second aqueduct from the Colorado River crosses the fault near Beaumont. And the Los Angeles Aqueduct, which transports snowmelt from the eastern Sierra, runs across the San Andreas in a mountain tunnel between Lancaster and Santa Clarita.

    Southern California water managers say they've made progress in recent years building local reserves they could turn to if they lost water from one or more of the transport systems.

    With such efforts, "we feel even more confident we are able to provide sufficient water to sustain us during an earthquake," said Debra Man, chief operating officer of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the region's main water wholesaler.

    Jim McDaniels, chief operating officer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's water system, said that if disaster struck, the DWP could double its groundwater pumping within the basin and draw from its four big local reservoirs.

    Major gas lines also come into Southern California over the San Andreas at several points, including at Indio, Palmdale, the Cajon Pass and the Tejon Ranch. Still, officials at the Southern California Gas Co. expressed confidence that the system could withstand a strong earthquake, noting they have been upgrading the pipeline for years.

    Another open question is whether the major quake would cause damage to fire stations, police headquarters and facilities of other emergency agencies, possibly slowing their response. A state study found that many of the 1,300 emergency operations buildings were constructed before strict quake building standards were enacted in 1986, and that only a portion of those had been retrofitted.

    At the LAPD, the only four facilities to meet the most recent and rigorous "essential building" standards are the department's newest: the West Valley and Mission police stations and two 911 dispatch centers.

    Yvette Sanchez-Owens, head of the department's facilities management office, said she is most concerned about three stations built in the 1960s: Rampart, Hollenbeck and Harbor. Police officers at the Harbor station in San Pedro have been relocated to trailers while a new station is built; officers could be moved out of the Hollenbeck station in Boyle Heights sometime this fall as preparation for construction of a new station begins.

    As for Parker Center, it already sustained significant damage during the Northridge earthquake. It is also scheduled to be replaced, but not for several years.

    "It could be in real trouble," Sanchez-Owens said. "It's definitely not built up to standard."
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  2. #2

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    Re: Callifornia Earthquake Could Be the Next Katrina

    I read this today in the LA Times too. I thought I was prepared fairly well, until Northridge. Now I have all my wallhangings stuck to the walls, lots of extra water, my gas valve has an auto shut off but there's a wrench nearby just in case (let me tell you, after you smell gas in your home after a major earthquake you never forget that smell and the thoughts of "oh my god" rushing through your head), my shelves are arranged so that the heavy stuff is at the bottom, lighter at the top, big wall units are attached to the walls, I keep a pair of old shoes right under my bed with a flashlight inside of one. You just cant be prepared enough.

  3. #3

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    Re: Callifornia Earthquake Could Be the Next Katrina

    Lightbeers Earthquake Emergency Kit:

    One box of Tic Tacs


    When the big one hits I find the sexiest woman around and give her a deep passionate kiss, then I look into her eyes and say "Did the earth just move, baby?"

    But seriously remember on the gas meters everyone 1/4 turn with the wrench. Unless ya wanna be fancy with it, then 3/4 turn works as well.
    I find it hard
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    Re: Callifornia Earthquake Could Be the Next Katrina

    I just got one of those "crank radios", and have plenty of water and other supplies at home, and have also stocked my Girlfriends place...

    When a Disaster hits, the FIRST line is YOU!!!! You need to be prepared, and stock up, have tools and supplies, and can't expect a Limo to come to your front door and pick you up...

    Also, you need to listen to the warnings, and while there are no warning for Earthquakes, other types of disasters can provide warning, and when they tell you to move and get out... DO IT!!!!!!!!!

    Please take a few minutes and think about your future safety!
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    Re: Callifornia Earthquake Could Be the Next Katrina

    Quote Originally Posted by LightBeer
    But seriously remember on the gas meters everyone 1/4 turn with the wrench. Unless ya wanna be fancy with it, then 3/4 turn works as well.
    The Gas cutoff is simple to understand, if the "Knob" is running with the length of the pipe, it is ON, if the "Knob" is opposite (90 degrees), or looking like it is blocking the pipe, then it is OFF!
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    Re: Callifornia Earthquake Could Be the Next Katrina

    I purchased an Emergency Preparedness Kit 2 months ago just in case, and I have extra food and water. Plus, I've got camping equipment just in case.

    The last big quick in L.A. proper was 94. It's now 2005.

    To quote Han Solo "I've got a bad feeling about this".
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    Re: Callifornia Earthquake Could Be the Next Katrina

    You can Build a very nice Kit for around $100. For those of us who pay over $100 per month for insurance, just think of this as your OWN Insurance.
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    Re: Callifornia Earthquake Could Be the Next Katrina

    Luckily, my school is pretty far from a fault line, and our buildings are all very sturdy. (Which can make it hard to get wireless, but that's a relatively small price to pay.) I don't really have an earthquake kit or bottled water or anything like that, mainly because I don't have anywhere to put it, but I feel fairly confident that with a $1 billion endowment, Pomona will be able to take care of its students.

    At least, I sure as hell hope so. I might just give Campus Life a call tomorrow and ask just how prepared we are for something like this...

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    Re: Callifornia Earthquake Could Be the Next Katrina

    The standard is be prepared to spend 72 hours on your own before the city, county, state, etc can mobilize. You might get lucky and have help sooner but don't count on it.

    Make a menu for three days, to know how much food you'll need. A gallon of water per person per day, more if you have dehydrated food and for sanitation. First aid kit, copies of important papers, money, change of clothes, blankets, soap. Everything you could possibly need for three days. Keep it in a secure location and rotate anything that needs to be fresh. The big thing there is water. Change it every 6 months or so.
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    Re: Callifornia Earthquake Could Be the Next Katrina

    It is very good to be prepared. Back in 1989 our city distributed door to door and delivered a booklet titled "Community-wide Earthquake preparedness and winter storm workbook." At the time I was a newly divorced mom with a handicaped daughter and a one and a half year. I went through that workbook and studied and got prepared. Six months after the booklet was left at my doorstep the Lome Prieta Earthquake hit. Our home was a shambles (the gas oven flew out of the wall!), but I had what we needed to for three days until the power was restored.

    I think it would be important for those of us traveling to Southern California to be mindful of the possibility of an earthquake. We should pack emergency supplies in our car. Actually, having supplies in your car is a good idea in case you are not able to get back to your house, or if your house is collapsed.

    I heard on the news (last night or this morning) that something like 85% (I think) of Californias are not insured for earthquake damage. Our family does carry it, yes it's expensive, but the peace of mind is well worth it.

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    Re: Callifornia Earthquake Could Be the Next Katrina

    My dad determined that given deductibles and how much he'd have spent on earthquake insurance, the Northridge earthquake was basically a wash, damage-wise. And we lived IN Northridge!

    So uh... earthquake insurance is too expensive.

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    Re: Callifornia Earthquake Could Be the Next Katrina

    Emergency response and recovery to the Northridge quake was stellar. FEMA was on the scene instantly, the city was back to near-normal operation within a matter of days.

    The key is for officials to learn what lessons they can from Katrina, for individuals to take the responsibility to be prepaired themselves, and move forward. Anything more than that, or trying to predict a disaster equal to Katrina is unproductive fear mongering.

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    Re: Callifornia Earthquake Could Be the Next Katrina

    Quote Originally Posted by Morrigoon
    So uh... earthquake insurance is too expensive.
    Insurance by definition is a gamble. Our house required $100,000 worth of repairs plus property loss plus lodging costs while we were displaced for the repairs. My parents' deductible was $20,000. The insurance was clearly worth it.

    Of course, since Northridge, basically the only earthquake insurance available is the state program which doesn't cover much. But it doesn't take much to leave you with nothing. And while the premiums in the long run might end up costing you more than you ever get back, it's much easier to pay those premiums over the years and only have to pay the deductible in an emergency than to try to come up with $100,000+ all at once at the time of a disaster.

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    Re: Callifornia Earthquake Could Be the Next Katrina

    Quote Originally Posted by Morrigoon
    My dad determined that given deductibles and how much he'd have spent on earthquake insurance, the Northridge earthquake was basically a wash, damage-wise. And we lived IN Northridge!

    So uh... earthquake insurance is too expensive.

    I felt that way, too, but for $43.00 a month, I sleep a bit better at night.

    I would like to add, the insurance company business is such a tangled web. I find nothing as confusing as reading my declarations page! It is a foreign language to me. There is nothing, absolutely nothing clear cut, except the premium due!
    Boo!

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    Re: Callifornia Earthquake Could Be the Next Katrina

    Quote Originally Posted by Bacon
    Insurance by definition is a gamble.

    No kidding. My mom had around $12,000 in damage, nothing compared to so many folks and pretty darn good for only being 3 miles from the epicenter. Her deductible was $10k. Luckily she got an SBA loan that she's still shelling out like $67 a month on.

    And I'd like to 2nd the way FEMA handled the quake in '94. Granted we were out of power for I think 3 days and gas wasn't turned on for a week and we had to treat the water for a week or so they did a really good job IMHO at the time.

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