Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Great ShakeOut is Coming!

Those of you who do not live in southern California may think I’ve changed the focus of this blog. Those of you who do live in SoCal may already be aware of the “Great Shake Out” exercise planned for November 13. If you are not already aware of it you soon will be.

The Great Southern California ShakeOut will be a week of special events featuring the largest earthquake drill in U.S. history. The drill is based on a realistic portrayal of what will happen in a 7.8 quake on the southern terminus of the San Andreas Fault. Models of this quake predict 1,800 deaths, 50,000 injuries, and over $213 billion in economic losses.

While this exercise is not intended to predict such a quake, it is intended to exercise a broad spectrum of society, including government agencies at all levels, school systems, and non-profits. Companies and individuals are encouraged to participate as well, taking advantage of the opportunity to tune up their own response plans. It goes without saying that the lessons learned here will serve us well in any large scale disaster event. Major events planned are:

  • November 13: Shakeout Drill
  • November 14: Los Angeles Earthquake: Get Ready Rally
  • November 12-14: International Earthquake Policy Conference
  • November 13-19: Golden Guardian Emergency Response Exercise
  • November 14-16: Take One More Step

There is a wealth of information available for use in preparing for participation. At The Great Southern California ShakeOut web site you will find copies of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scenario documents, a calendar of events, and registration links to help get you involved.

If you have trouble visualizing what such a quake will be like, take a look at the animation found here. Note the time in the lower LH corner when the quake hits the LA basin (at approximately 1:12) and the time the basin stops shaking. Then compare that to the 23 seconds experienced during the Northridge earthquake in 1994, and recall that the Richter scale is logarithmic. The difference is stunning and attention grabbing.

Scientists tell us that it is not a matter of if such a quake will happen somewhere along the fault, but when. This exercise gives all of us an opportunity to refocus our preparation. Having done so will prove to be a very wise investment when needed.

Join the ShakeOut!

1 comment:

  1. Thomas from San BernardinoOctober 9, 2008 at 12:59 PM

    This is a wonderful idea! Being proactive like this will help Californians to get through the real thing when it happens.

    I just saw a great video news story on the internet regarding the press conference that Dr. Lucy Jones and several others did in the Cajon Pass yesterday. The link is: