Quake serves as wake-up call to prepare

LOS ANGELES We heard it several times Tuesday. Kate Hutton of the U.S. Geological Survey said it best: Any earthquake is a drill for the future. We live in earthquake country, and it's a good idea to be prepared.

The Northridge quake in 1994 was the last big one. But between then -- back to 1971, there was a lot of seismic activity in the L.A. Basin. And more is coming, and coming in a big way. That grim reminder from City Hall Tuesday.

"We are going to have one of the largest earthquakes in modern American history in this region in the next decade," said L.A. City Councilman Greig Smith.

Though city officials gave emergency services high praise, City Controller Laura Chick recalled her recent audit which called for a more coordinated disaster plan, with better training for everyone.

"We can't wait until an emergency to tell the public what they need to do," said Chick.

One home in La Verne has the latest in quake safety. Tom and Debbie Rundberg are happy to share what they've learned.

Like strapping heavy furniture to the wall using special locking hooks on art so it doesn't bounce off the wall. Appliances can become projectiles if they're not strapped. Especially the flat-screen TV. Children are the ones most at risk by sitting on the floor below it.

Gas should be turned of if there's the odor of natural gas.

Delicate items should be stuck down with museum putty.

A generator is a good investment.

So is a hand-cranked combination flashlight, radio, siren, and cell-phone charger.

Here's more on the list recommended by the Red Cross:

  • At least three gallons of water per person
  • Canned or non-perishable food and a manual can opener
  • Sturdy shoes and a flashlight by the bed
  • A first-aid kit and essential medications
  • Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members
  • Protective clothing, bedding, sleeping bags, and blankets
  • A battery-powered radio with extra batteries
Computer models of a 7.0+ quake centered in Puente Hills show shock waves spreading quickly through the basin. The estimated death toll: 3,000 to 18,000, with $130 billion in damage.

It's important to be prepared because help may be slow in coming.

The Red Cross announced that getting into a doorway is not the correct thing to do anymore: Don't get in a doorway in an earthquake. People have fingers severed or can sustain damage with doors slamming on them. Get against a sturdy wall in a hallway, against a couch, away from windows. If you're in an office, get under a desk.


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