Southern California Officials Urge Earthquake Preparedness

Jul 8, 2019

Ridgecrest residents pack a public meeting this past weekend to hear post-quake updates from local public safety officials. Officials all over Southern California are stepping up outreach efforts, urging residents to prepare for future big earthquakes.
Credit Screenshot KTLA 5 Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Southland officials have stepped up outreach efforts on earthquake preparedness in the wake of last week's twin temblors in the Mojave Desert, which were Southern California's two biggest earthquakes in 20 years.
   Local officials were joined by seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones of Caltech and experts from Los Angeles County's Office of Emergency Management at a presentation Sunday in downtown Los Angeles intended to remind local residents how to prepare for the inevitable Big One.
   The powerful quake struck about 8:16 p.m. Friday, about 9 miles west- southwest of Searles Valley in southwestern San Bernardino County, and occurred on the same fault that produced a magnitude 6.4 foreshock on Thursday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
   There were no reports of serious damage in Los Angeles and surrounding
cities, but seismologists have said the danger is not over yet, with a high
number of aftershocks expected during the week.
   On Sunday, officials recommended that in the event of an earthquake
that knocks out power, water, natural gas or other essential services, people
follow the following three basic steps:
   -- Stock Up (buy a supply of the same items you purchase every time
you go to the market, such as a case of water, ready-to-eat food, etc.);
   -- Have a conversation with family members about your exact emergency
plan so everyone will be on the same page and know what to do;
   -- Stay connected by making sure you have an emergency contact list,
and make sure you have a backup battery for your cell phone.
   Jones, founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science & Society, has
said that the twin quakes near Ridgecrest do not increase the chances of a
major quake occurring closer to Los Angeles, but officials know that fact
doesn't assuage the fears of many residents.
   ``These earthquakes have left us rattled,'' L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn said. ``... people
are worried, and I don't know if this press conference today is going to make
them more worried or less worried, but we're hoping that what it does is get
them prepared, so they can rest a little easier.''
   County residents were also urged to sign up for the #ShakeAlertLA app.
   Urban search and rescue teams from the Los Angeles and Los Angeles
County fire departments and Orange County Fire Authority were deployed to the
Kern County city of Ridgecrest to help authorities there in assessing damage to
homes and businesses.
   ``These veteran LAFD responders are proud emissaries of the people of
Los Angeles, and eager to leverage considerable skill in helping the people of
Kern County,'' said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
   Los Angeles County Fire Department's Urban Search and Rescue Team 136
and Hazardous Materials Team 811 were sent to Ridgecrest Friday night,
according to Inspector Brian Stevens.
   A heavy rescue apparatus and urban search and rescue support vehicle
with six firefighters left Friday night for Ridgecrest, the OCFA said.
   Many aftershocks have followed, the majority between magnitude 3 and
4, with seismologists estimating there have been more than 3,000 earthquakes
since July 6.
   The USGS estimated a 3% chance of another earthquake of magnitude 7 or
greater striking the region within the next week. The chance of a quake of
magnitude 6 or higher was estimated at 27%, and it is most likely that as many
as two such quakes will occur. The chance of a magnitude 5 or higher quake is
96%, with as many as eight likely to occur, the USGS said.
   Seismologists say they anticipate between 240 and 410 quakes of
magnitude 3 or higher.
   ``Prepare yourself for the next week to two weeks, this isn't going to
stop in the near future,'' Ridgecrest Police Chief Jed McLaughlin told
residents late Friday night.
   Only minor injuries, ``cuts and bruises,'' were reported in
Ridgecrest. The city's water system was intact, but water was out in the small
town of Trona in San Bernardino County.
   Caltrans reported that all roads near the quake area were open,
including State Route 178, which re-opened after emergency temporary repairs.
   The earthquake was felt as far away as Las Vegas, forcing stoppage of
an NBA Summer League game and at Dodger Stadium, where the Los Angeles Dodgers
were facing the San Diego Padres. It was the largest in Southern California
since a 7.1 quake in 1999 hit the Hector Mines area of the Mojave Desert.
   Cracked buildings and injuries were reported in Kern and San
Bernardino counties, ABC7 reported. Up to 50 structures were thought to have
been damaged overall.
   In Ventura County, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake was declared
not mission-capable, according to a post on the base's Facebook page, although
it remained accessible for mission-essential personnel only.
   Gov. Gavin Newsom surveyed quake damage in the Ridgecrest area on
Saturday and said he had discussed the situation with President Donald Trump.
Newsom has requested a presidential emergency declaration for direct federal
assistance to further support emergency response and recovery in impacted
communities and activated the Governor's Office of Emergency Services to its
highest level. The state is also coordinating mutual aid to local first
responders, Newsom said.
   ``I have all the confidence in the world that the president will be
forthcoming in immediate terms with the federal declaration,'' Newsom said
during a news conference following his tour. ``We don't agree on everything,
but one area where there's no politics, and we (have) worked extraordinarily
well together is on emergency response and recovery, and increasing that
emergency preparedness.''