California Plans Largest Earthquake Drill In U.S. History
To help prepare Los Angeles and other southern California residents for a major earthquake likely to occur in the next 30 years, Los Angeles city officials are planning the largest earthquake drill in American history, reports the Asian Journal.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa joined local safety officials, community and business leaders, and emergency managers to announce the launch of the Great Southern California ShakeOut campaign.
ShakeOut will take place in November in eight southern California counties.
“This is our reality. A major earthquake will come, and it is our responsibility to be prepared for the economic and social aftershocks,” Villaraigosa said. “An early investment in preparedness can have a priceless return after a disaster.”
The Great Southern California ShakeOut is a region-wide campaign geared to encourage residents, schools, businesses and organizations to get ready for big earthquakes, and to help residents prevent disasters from becoming catastrophes.
The campaign calls on everyone to participate in the country’s largest earthquake drill that will take place at 10 a.m. on November 13, 2008.
For more than a year, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has led a collaboration of experts and professionals to understand how a magnitude 7.8 earthquake along the Southern San Andreas Fault – an event larger than a dozen Northridge earthquakes occurring simultaneously across the region – would affect Southern California, from seconds to decades after the event.
At the June 4 meeting at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, earthquake scientists outlined the possible effects of a large earthquake and discussed preparations for the drill in November, the Asian Journal reports.
Geological forecast studies have shown that an earthquake of a magnitude 7.8 is likely to occur in the next 30 years and would affect the majority of the City of Los Angeles.
The ShakeOut scenario estimates that a potential earthquake of this magnitude would be a large-scale national disaster causing 2,000 deaths; 50,000 injuries; $200 billion in damage; and severe, long-lasting disruption.
According to the Asian Journal, Villaraigosa has worked to ensure that Los Angeles is prepared in the event of an emergency, appointing Los Angeles Fire Chief Douglas Barry and Emergency Management Department General Manager James Featherstone to oversee key agencies and update and improve the city’s preparedness plans.
Villaraigosa called on all area business and residents to sign up to participate in the ShakeOut. He also emphasized the need for personal preparedness and encouraged Los Angeles residents to have emergency plans and kits in their homes, cars and offices.
“While we can’t predict, we can prepare. Preparedness is a shared responsibility. We’re going to need water. We’re going to need food. We’re going to need each other,” Villaraigosa said.
ShakeOut is organized by the Earthquake Country Alliance, a public-private partnership of leading earthquake professionals, emergency managers, government officials, business and community leaders, and others.