Category Archives: Earthquakes

How Are You Gonna Rock When We Roll?

Last night on the anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake, I watched CalTech Seismologist Lucy Jones tell reporters assembled at a press conference that for most angelenos it was a small one. Ha! How I wish I had been one of most angelenos. But I wasn’t. Not by a long shot.

The fires down below
The fires down below: This is a crappy snap I made the morning of January 17, 1994, from a pull out on Mulholland looking down into a San Fernando Valley that was almost entirely filled with smoke and dust.

There were two times in my life when I thought my ticket had been punched: that morning 21 years ago holding onto a door jam for dear life while it seemed the world was shaking apart, and a traffic collision I had six months later — which ironically wouldn’t have occurred if it weren’t for quake-related repairs forcing me to relocate temporarily to Van Nuys where I was on my motorcycle when that collision happened… but that’s another story.

In fairness, Jones wasn’t belittling or minimalizing what took place. She was basing that statement on the length of the fault that generated that temblor — 10 miles — in comparison to the San Andreas fault, 200 miles or more of which could rupture — correction WILL rupture. When that event happens it won’t be discussed 21 years later from a perspective of relative percentages impacted. Those of us that survive that eventual catastrophe will ALL be thrust into an exquisite chaos.

The plain truth is that with this certainty, most of us are still woefully unprepared. Maybe we’re gambling that we’ll dodge such a cataclysm in our lifetime, or maybe were deluded into thinking there’s really nothing that can be done and to just roll with what comes when the land rocks. It’s probably a lame metaphor, but that’s a bit like not being able to stop from hopping into a taxi that we know is going to crash, yet refusing to fasten our seatbelt on our way to that potential doom.

Instead put the “do” in doom. Google “earthquake preparedness.” Here, I’ll do it for you: earthquake preparedness. You don’t have to go full doomsday survivalist, but you need to do something/anything. Stockpile supplies and develop a plan that will make the ensuing nightmare a little less nightmarish. Having something as trivial as a few gallons of water, some nutrition bars, spare batteries, flashlights, a transistor radio and first aid supplies will seem like gold when the time comes to need them.

Happy Anniversary Northridge…did we learn anything?

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. Continue reading Happy Anniversary Northridge…did we learn anything?

Earthquake warning system for So Cal? There might be an app for that someday.

Sample early warning message from USGS, click to embiggen

Take the survey HERE.  The USGS, working with a university,  is taking a survery of an app for our phones that would tie into a USGS early warning system giving us seconds to prepare for a specific anticipated intensity of shaking.  How cool is that?  Take the survey, give them their feedback so they can make it a system that works for us.

Nearly 20 years ago this week, the 17th to be precise was the Northridge Quake.  An early warning may have given some of us a few seconds to prepare for the violent shaking that took place that morning.

8 Days and counting until the Great California Shake Out.

The Great California Shake Out
The Great California Shake Out

Are you ready to Drop, Cover and Hold on?  Mark your calenders for 10/20 at 10:20AM for the next installment of the Great California Shake Out.  This is an annual quake drill on a statewide level and there is much going on in L.A. for the event.  Not signed up yet to participate?  There is time to do so on their web page HERE.

Its been over 17 years since our last big quake here in L.A. (Northdridge 1994 to be precise).  Many here don’t remember the shaking or waiting for sometimes days for water and power to be restored.  The Shake Out is about more than just riding out the shaking, its about preparing to be a survivor in the time one waits for help to arrive.  Their 7 Steps are outlined in their web.  In short be prepared to be on your own until help arrives.For me October Shake Out prep involves going back through the Earthquake kit, updating food, batteries and water that have gone stale over the last year. Continue reading 8 Days and counting until the Great California Shake Out.

CERT getting into gear

CERT I recently posted about CERT training in LA and here’s a gentle reminder that now’s the time to get started. There are a ton of classes starting up this week. Actually for some places Monday was the first class but my Google Alert got piled in a bunch of emails so hey, better late than never eh? If you missed the first class you can make it up later so no reason to not jump in. I’m going to be going to the Woodland Hills training so if anyone reading this can make it, say hello! The online calendar is a little out of date so I contacted them this morning and they sent me the up to date full class schedule.

It’s time to get CERT-ified

With all the brouhaha going on across the world it’s time to remind all of us Angelino’s that we’re living on top of a ticking time bomb and we all should do our parts to be prepared. A few years ago a bunch of the crew went out and got CERT training. For the un-initiated, CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team and the training is provided free of charge to everyone 18 and older living in the city of Los Angeles.

Local government prepares for everyday emergencies. However, during a disaster, the number and scope of incidents can overwhelm conventional emergency services. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is an all-risk, all-hazard training. This valuable course is designed to help you protect yourself, your family, your neighbors and your neighborhood in an emergency situation.

CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens may initially be on their own and their actions can make a difference. While people will respond to others in need without the training, one goal of the CERT program is to help them do so effectively and efficiently without placing themselves in unnecessary danger.

The course is one day a week for seven weeks with a total of 17.5 hours training time. In the classes you’ll learn to:

  • Manage utilities and put out small fires,
  • Treat the three medical killers by opening airways, controlling
  • Bleeding, and treating for shock,
  • Provide basic medical aid,
  • Search for and rescue victims safely,
  • Organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective,
    and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.

I missed the initial classes but now that I’m back in LA I’m getting my training at the first available class. If this sounds like something you’re into (and it should be dammit) check their calendar for a class near you! You can also peruse the class manual online.

Help the Red Cross

While this doesn’t directly relate to Los Angeles, I don’t really care. Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last 24 hours, you know some serious shit went down in Japan. Stuff that could easily happen here in Los Angeles. YOU can help. Donate to the Red Cross. There’s a direct link HERE. You’re welcome to click on the Japan tab, but remember there’s bad things happening elsewhere. Why not make a general donation? The money will go where it’s needed most.

C’mon. Skip the Starbucks once and spend that money to help those in need. Who knows? It could be you seeking out the Red Cross after a huge quake here. Wouldn’t you want them to have enough supplies for you?

Do you know where your fault lies?

I do, and its not far from where I live.  40 years ago this week was the San Fernando Quake that caused extensive damage and some loss of life here in LA.  As a result of that quake legislation was pass requiring you to disclose earthquake faults near or on your property when you sold it.

The California Geological Survey has had the task forever of mapping those surface faults that put homes and humans at risk. Up until this week you had to either buy their CD or paper maps to get the information.  Now you can download the forms in PDF format, if only out of morbid curiosity, to find what faults are near your home.  The link to the CGS site HERE. Metro Los Angeles is covered in the maps.  Although the map isn’t labeled by street, it does drill down to street level when mapping out the known surface fault lines.

Of course knowing where the faults around you is half the battle.  The bigger one we seem to get lax with is quake preparedness…check out CA Shakeout for more information on how to prepare for quakes, especially big ones.

Are you ready for 10:21 on 10/21 for the Great Shake Out?

Across LA businesses, schools and even those at home are planning to “drop, cover and hold on” in the biggest Earthquake Drill yet planned for CA.  Just in case you are unsure what to do here are a few video’s on what  to do should the big one hit.  There’s even a good video talking with those that remember the Northridge Quake and what not to do when a big quake starts with a little redundancy of the message “Drop, cover and hold on”.

There is still time to register as a participant at The Great California Shake Out, do so HERE.

Hat tip to commenter “bentien” over at USC for the most current videos on the topic.





Shake Out planned for 10/21 at 10:21.

Ready for the big one? Practice with me and another nearly 7 Million Californians on 10/21 at 10:21AM. Its easy, sign up with The Great California Shake Out and follow the simple instructions to participate HERE.

Looking for more than participating in the drill? They have the resources available to help you organize a drill in your home or office. Their website HERE.

Still looking for more. The Los Angeles Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is looking for some regular folks to step up and be ready to help out in a catastrophe. You can visit their web site for information on how to sign up, take FREE classes and be ready to help the community out when the big one hits.

Check out LA Moves web site for more quake information that is Los Angeles Specific. Their site is being constantly updated with local information and activities. They have a big event planned to coincide with next years Shake Out.

Got your earthquake kit for your home completed? I check mine twice yearly and toss out the old stuff and put in new. That includes both food stuff and batteries for the flashlights. Do you have your own personal quake kit for your cars (water, snack bars, blanket, flashlight and first aid kit)? What about for at work? If you work in an office environment where dress shoes or pumps are de rigueur do you have some tenny runners to swap out to for the long walk to a shelter or home?

For you newbies to LA who haven’t been in a real quake yet do you know what to do? This short vid from the ’08 Shake out still applies.  Youtube HERE.
And just for a reminder as to what to expect when the big one hits this Youtube video from last years simulates the shaking intensity from epicenter in the desert to LA just to prepare you for what to expect when a large quake strikes. Youtube HERE.

5.4 Quake Hits So Cal

I first suspected an earthquake might have been happening when I felt a tiny shaking while I was sitting at my desk.  Then some stronger shaking occurred and I looked at my Twitter stream.  All my friends in L.A. were tweeting “EARTHQUAKE.” It was good as confirmed.

Of course, it’s not really confirmed until a seismologist at USGS has reviewed the quake findings:

Date-Time Wednesday, July 07, 2010 at 23:53:33 UTC
Wednesday, July 07, 2010 at 04:53:33 PM at epicenter

Location 33.417°N, 116.483°W
Depth 11.7 km (7.3 miles)
Distances 22 km (13 miles) NNW (332°) from Borrego Springs, CA
23 km (14 miles) SE (131°) from Anza, CA
33 km (20 miles) NE (52°) from Lake Henshaw, CA
41 km (25 miles) SW (215°) from Indio, CA
45 km (28 miles) S (174°) from Palm Springs, CA
94 km (58 miles) NE (41°) from San Diego, CA

Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 0.3 km (0.2 miles); depth +/- 0.6 km (0.4 miles)
Parameters Nph=122, Dmin=10 km, Rmss=0.26 sec, Gp= 29°,
M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=4

Don’t forget to fill out the “Did you feel it?” shake survey and check out the Shake Map!

More continuing quakes/aftershocks in Southern & Baja California

Magnitude 5.1 – SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA – 2010 April 04 23:15:20 UTC (1 mile south/southwest of Imperial, Calif)

Magnitude 4.5 – BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO – 2010 April 04 23:09:49 UTC (32 miles west/southwest of Mexicali)

UPDATE: Revisions below:

Magnitude 4.8 – BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO – 2010 April 04 23:09:38 UTC

Magnitude 5.2 – BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO – 2010 April 04 23:15:14 UTC

Magnitude 5.4 – BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO – 2010 April 04 23:25:09 UTC

Magnitude 4.7 – BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO – 2010 April 04 23:37:32 UTC

Magnitude 5.1 – SONORA, MEXICO – 2010 April 05 00:07:11 UTC

L.A. folks, did you feel the 6.9 7.2 quake?

-According to @ABC7: Disneyland security reports that all rides are shut down and some people are trapped in elevators after the quake.. UPDATE: Disneyland rides still shut down but no one stuck in elevators as initially reported

On-air and live streaming coverage on ABC7

Here’s an updated quake map/screenshot as of Sunday, April 4, 2010 at 06:34:26 PM (PDT) – Pacific