Dr. Lucy Jones discusses how to better prepare for earthquakes

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones appeared on Newsmakers from Caltech in Pasadena, where she was teaching a class.

Now retired from the U.S. Geological Survey, she is the founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society.

Jones' Center teams science with public policy. One focus to making more resilient communities, especially when it comes to earthquakes and water supply.

Our water supply has to cross the San Andreas Fault. Dr. Jones says the aqueducts can be made more resilient to handle fault lines and be repaired more quickly.

Just as important, the pipes from homes to the water lines will break. Restoring water could take six to 18 months.

"We now have pipes that don't break in earthquakes," Jones said. "If I were making a recommendation, it would be a region-wide commitment to move toward those seismic resilient pipes."

Dr. Jones says most buildings won't kill us in a quake, but many will need to be torn down, a disaster for our economy.

"The economic vulnerability is extremely large and the cost of moving towards a better building standard is small," she said. "Our estimate is it'll add about one percent to the cost of construction to build buildings that we can repair instead of having to tear down."

A final word from Dr. Jones and the ShakeAlert App: it was working as intended for the Ridgecrest quakes.

"It was a magnitude 7 but the shaking that you received was an intensity III. And I think if people understood intensity better, and that it's not magnitude and what the differences are, we'd all be better off," she said.

Glenn Pomeroy, CEO of California Earthquake Authority also appeared on the program.

Only 10 percent of Californians have earthquake insurance.

It is available not only to home and condo owners, but renters and mobile home residents as well.

Earthquake insurance is not mandatory, but if an earthquake topples your home, you will have to keep paying the mortgage.

Pomeroy says quake insurance is much more affordable now.

"You just borrowed money to buy that home, whatever happens to that home, the bank doesn't care; you still owe them that money," Pomeroy said. "That's why it's so important to get that financial protection in place. Most people have most of their retirement tied up in what they've invested in their homes. They're putting it all at risk, losing it in a heartbeat."

The California Earthquake Authority was started in 1994, after the Northridge quake.

"Earthquake insurance is so much more affordable than people think," Pomeroy said. "It used to be very expensive. We brought prices down by over 50 percent since we were around. So for anybody around here who thinks that's just too expensive, give us a look. Check it out."

You can go to the website here.

David Englin, COO of Red Cross L.A. Region discussed preparedness. Starting with the most basic supplies, Englin explained what it means to "get a kit, make a plan, be informed."
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