20 years ago my young family and I were in Valley Village some 6 or 7 miles from the epicenter of the Northridge Quake. It was probably the most frigthening moment of my life, far worse than any tornado we rode out as a kid back in the midwest. When the ground stopped shaking, there wasn’t a piece of anything we owned in its original place, complete and total mess with tons of breakage. My building had a lot of damage, others on my street literally collapsed. I vowed that morning to be better prepared for the next one.
Now I have ample food and water in EQ kits in the house and garage. We have EQ kits in all the cars. I know its redundant, but if one falls down there a chance we can still get to the other. I learned the hard way in NR to have cash on hand as the debit and credit card machines are down for days. Big things are quake strapped, little things that we want to keep are down with quake hold. I also keep a flashlight in every room with redundant battery supplies. My cars rarely go below half a tank, as well gas stations are out of order for days as well. I participate in the annual Shake Out preparedness drill. When the next big one strikes I’ll probably be as scared as I was in NR, but I will be prepared better for the aftermath.
Recently I’ve read stories that Mayor Garcetti is urging that we look at quake preparedness as a city and get the old buildings at risk identified and retrofitted. That was talked about 20 years ago after we had so many buildings fail. Yet, it hasn’t been done. What will it take to get the city/state/feds on board to get this problem resolved?
Last week the USGS said that if another Northridge type quake were to hit Los Angeles, we’d be in worse shape than we were in 1994. We are too dependant on cell phones and wifi for information, too few have TV or radios. Grocery stores no longer carry ample stock, nor do we at home, they stock to anticipated demand for a few days, we shop for a day or so. If you are wondering what to do to get yourself better prepared check out Shake Out for information on how to plan for the next one.
If you weren’t here for Northridge and want to get an idea of the confusion and mayhem you need to follow a couple of twitterers who are live tweeting recalling the day. First is @RealTime94Quake for a news perspective of the days events, then Militant Angeleno for his responses and take on a personal level what the event was like.
You can scour the ‘net for all sorts of news stories about the day, blogs with personal recollections. To save you a little time check out this post from 2004 from our own Will Campbell.