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How to Survive the “Big One”: What Will Happen? What Should You Do?

On Thursday, June 23, 2021, I attended a virtual webinar called “How to Survive the Big One,” co-sponsored for KPCC FM and the Los Angeles Times which featured the foremost earthquake scientist Dr. Lucy Jones, a seismologist and authority on earthquake safety. Also on the webinar were L.A. Times earthquake reporter Rong-Gong Lin II, scientist Jacob Margolis, Patt Morrison from the L.A. Times and KPCC’s Austin Cross. Being this is something I feel is of the utmost importance and a timely issue (with two earthquakes reported this week in L.A.), I took notes. Here’s what they said might happen if there was a major earthquake:

On Thursday, June 23, 2021, I attended a virtual webinar called “How to Survive the Big One, co-sponsored for KPCC FM and the Los Angeles Times which featured the foremost earthquake scientist Dr. Lucy Jones, a seismologist and authority on earthquake safety. Also on the webinar were L.A. Times earthquake reporter Rong-Gong Lin II, scientist Jacob Margolis, Patt Morrison from the L.A. Times and KPCC’s Austin Cross. Being this is something I feel is of the utmost importance and a timely issue (with two earthquakes reported this week in L.A.), I took notes. Here’s what they said might happen if there was a major earthquake:

Approximately 1600 fires would automatically break out, of which 1200 would not be attended to. If there are Santa Ana winds, there would be more.

There will be no electricity so there will be no traffic lights.

There will be massive landslides in the mountain so escape routes might be impassable.

A quarter of a million people would lose their homes in Los Angeles.

Plan to live without things you might need for two to three weeks.

Our electronics will lose power and cell phone towers won’t work so our cell phones won’t work. You will be able to get through to loved ones using text messaging for a while and make sure you have people’s phone numbers written down.

If you live in an older concrete building in L.A., it might not have not been retrofitted. Find out from your landlord if that is the case because when an earthquake hits, it will most likely suffer damage.

How to Prepare:

Download “My Shake” or “Quake Alert USA” from your phone app store. You might only have seconds from the early warning system.

When you get an earthquake alert, DROP AND COVER – get under a desk or a table right away. Being under a table will protect you from flying objects. (DON’T RUN OUTSIDE and don’t stand in a doorframe, it won’t help).

Be prepared: You’ll need to stock up on water: One gallon of water, per person and per pet, for each day for two or three weeks. Have ready to prepare food available and a cooking stove with fuel.

Store your earthquake supplies somewhere easy to access and not in a crowded garage.

People with developmental or functional needs will need to have a plan with a caretaker available to help them.

Medicine that needs to be refrigerated will need to be cooled in another way.

Have a radio powered by batteries. You can also use your car radio to hear the news.

Look into California Earthquake Insurance because the mortgage will have to be paid whether the foundation is there or not. If you have an older house, make sure it is retrofitted. Ca Geological Survey (CGS) can tell you if you are located on a fault line. The L.A. Times has an informational series you can sign up for called Unshaken. Read Jacob Margolis’s survival guide, available at L.A. Times.com. Feel free to watch the whole program here: Local Matters: How to Survive the Big One – YouTube

#TheBigShift: Mine Was At Age 30

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/thebigshift-mine-age-30-pat-kramer

Changing things up in one’s work can be invigorating and exciting, especially if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do but never pursued. Depending on what age you are, it can be a very good plan or a very uncertain one. When LinkedIn asked me to write about #TheBigShift, I knew exactly the story I would tell – here it is:

My Aunt Ronnie Kramer made it possible for me to pursue my dreams

When I was 30 years old, I took that “Big Step” into the unknown. I had been working as a radio news reporter and broadcaster for nearly ten years and I had reached the top of the paygrade for the market I was in as a woman. Women were not being paid the same as men (maybe still aren’t) and I was tired of working late night, early morning and weekend shifts at a pay that was not exactly practical for supporting myself.

My dad’s younger sister, Aunt Ronnie, lived in Los Angeles and worked in the entertainment industry as an agent for technical people on movies and TV. She and I had always been close but I had never had the opportunity to spend consistent time with her. Instead, it had been short visits whenever she was back in New England. Ronnie reached out to me around this time and broke the devastating news: she had been diagnosed with lung cancer and told that she only had six months to live! When I called her to tell her I was sorry to hear this, she asked me to come visit her – and to make it soon!

At the age of thirty, I was already dissatisfied with my life, my job, and the endless cold winters. I had been looking around for my next job, beyond the broadcasting industry, but it was looking bleak. I didn’t have job skills outside of being a writer, reporter, and communicator. I knew I would have to start all over doing “something else” but I wasn’t sure what it was. So I made my airline reservation right away and I took a few days off from my current job.

Ronnie and I finally got to spend some time together but I can’t say that it was that great. The shadow of her disease was always present, although we both chose not to talk about it.

Instead, I decided to interview for some jobs in Southern California. I had always wanted to be a writer for a record company or my dream job, writing for Rolling Stone magazine! Instead, I took another job working in marketing and sales for a Cable TV company, because again, I needed to support myself if I were to start all over again. Then, my plan was to work my way up to that dream job.

Lucky for me, I had the sales skills to convince all three companies that I interviewed with that week to hire me. One was in Anaheim, one was in Los Angeles, and one was in San Juan Capistrano. I took the job offer with the company in Anaheim and made arrangements with Ronnie to move in with her when I came back to start my job. All was looking good and I was invigorated by the thought of changing my life and leaving what I didn’t like, behind.

True to the plan, I moved to L.A. in June 1988 and moved in with Ronnie for a month while I figured out what to do for the long-term. That job in Anaheim lasted two months and then I realized I didn’t like the work culture. I ended up interviewing with another company and taking a job in Newport Beach. I moved in with some roommates in La Habra, CA and spent the weekends in L.A. with Ronnie. But a year later, I changed jobs again to work for a company in Simi Valley so I could live closer to Ronnie. When she passed, in November 1989, I had to make a decision: was I here to stay or was going to go home? I decided to stay because I hadn’t yet reached my goal of working as a writer.

The next ten years were rough. I supported myself working at an ad agency, writing PR content for three different public relations agencies, and yes, being a writer! I freelanced for many newspapers and magazines during the 1990’s, among them: Variety, Boxoffice, Music Connection, HITS, Los Angeles Business Journal, Pasadena Weekly, Insurance Journal, and the L.A. Times. Not long after Ronnie died, I launched my own writing business, Writer For Hire (www.writerpatkramer.com). The one thing I knew, deep down in my bones, was that I was going to make my certified, small, woman-owned business Writer For Hire a success, no matter how hard I had to work!

Looking back, the big, life-changing move I made in 1988 was all worth it, despite everything that I had to do to start over. I moved six or seven times between 1988 and 1995. Would I do it again at my present age? I don’t think so. You get used to certain things in life – financial security, your support systems which include co-workers, friends, and neighbors.

That being said, if I ever were to move somewhere outside of Los Angeles, I would certainly continue my business. That’s a given; it’s in my bones. Once a writer, always a writer. So when LinkedIn asked me to write an article about #TheBigShift, I knew this story would be about that change I made that was all worth it.

Had I stayed in Massachusetts and settled for a different life, I would never have experienced the life I now love. Looking back on all the hard work it took, it was all worth it. Thank you, Ronnie, for helping me make it happen. I wish you were still here to see me now.