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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

We Live in a World of Instant Gratification – But We Can’t Expect That in Our Business

Most of us are pretty happy to have everything we want right at our fingertips – our coffee is made by a Keurig so we don’t have to wait for our coffeemaker to prepare it, our food can be prepared faster in an air fryer than in an oven, and we have GPS on our phones so we don’t have to take the time to look at a map. Similarly, our informational needs are answered by Siri or Google so we don’t even need to do any research for answers to our questions. It’s easy to see why we also expect immediate gratification from our marketing and publicity campaigns – but that’s where things differ.

I’ve been working with clients behind the scenes on their branding and publicity campaigns for over 30 years now and I’m always amazed at how people, new to this process, expect immediate results from a small amount of work without sustaining an ongoing campaign.

I am often asked, “How long will it take for the book I am writing to become a “best seller?” Or how much marketing do I have to do to sell more of my products or services, and once I achieve a level of growth, can I stop doing the marketing and publicity?

When I get asked these questions, I like to refer to people in the music industry who are well known and accomplished like, for instance, guitarist Eric Clapton, who got his first guitar at age 13 and joined his first band, “The Roosters” at age 17. After working as a day laborer with his grandfather, a bricklayer, he was recruited to “The Yardbirds” where he achieved local success but without much financial success. Two years later, Bluesman John Mayall asked Clapton to join his band “John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers,” where Clapton established his reputation as a guitarist. In 1966, after a somewhat turbulent time in his career, he joined the three-man band “Cream” which led to U.S. tours and rock stardom – however, that did not last very long. In 1968, Cream disbanded and once again, Clapton had to reinvent himself.

Clapton then formed the band “Blind Faith” which was known as a “Supergroup” however that band didn’t work out and after just one album and one U.S. tour, he was performing with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. This gig provided more songwriting experience and in 1970, he formed another band called “Derek and the Dominos” which produced the seminal rock album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.” However, there were more hardships ahead – drug use and the failure of that band would send him into depression for three years, rarely leaving his estate in England.

But Clapton wasn’t ready to give up yet. In 1974, he reemerged again with a new album and over the next 30+ years, he continued to record, tour, record, tour, write, record, etc. — resulting in where he is today. The multi Grammy Award – winning singer/songwriter (18 Grammys) and guitarist never gave up when the chips were down and despite losing a child to a tragic accident, he turned that heart-wrenching loss into a beautiful song “Tears in Heaven.”

He also used his celebrity presence to raise money for the good of many different organizations – much like Bruce Springsteen, one of my songwriting and performing heroes has done, his whole career. Clapton built a treatment center on the island of Antigua called The Crossroads Centre and has funded it with benefit concerts through the years so that people in need who don’t have the funds can get treatment.

So using the example of Eric Clapton, you can look at the guitarist/song writer and recording artist and see him as a legend and an immediate success or you can see someone who has gone through tremendous setbacks in his career and yet, he has persisted — just like those of us in business must do every day. Marketing is a process; so is public relations and publicity. We build it from creating conversations about our business, our industry, and the work that we do. Building it is a process that continues through the life of the business. We don’t stop talking or writing or doing outreach to our customers when we have success and especially when we are in a low point – we keep going.

I hope you find some meaning in this comparison. We all have our personal demons and insecurities but like Clapton, who was born to a 16-year old unwed mother and raised by his grandparents, we play the cards we are dealt and we do the best we can. Don’t ever stop talking about your business, writing about it, and doing something productive to draw attention (positive) to what you do, and I promise you, you will see results.

CHP’S “Age Well, Drive Smart” Presentation Provides Helpful Information to Seniors

By Pat Kramer

On Thursday, February 27, 2020, California Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Vince Ramirez presented “Age Well, Drive Smart” at Sunland Senior Center to share information on safe driving to mature drivers. Over the next hour and a half, PIO Ramirez presented helpful information and answered questions including, when it is safe to give up your driving priviledges. Here’s a summary of what was presented:

The Baby Boomers (post WWII babies) are a very large population group which is now reaching (or have reached) retirement age. According to CHP statistics, there were 3 million people 65 and older in the State of California in 1990. By 2,000, there were 3.8 million and now in 2020, there are approximately 5.2 million people 65+. By 2020, that number is expected to reach 9 million in the State of California.

The impacts of living:

When a driver is aged 70 or older, it’s time to rate your reaction time, vision and hearing and to understand whether you are impacted by medication or physical issues affecting your legs, feet, hands, back or neck as these can impact the ability to turn, brake or accelerate.

Multitasking is never a good idea!

Additionally, with the advent of Smart Phones, we can now text to others in real time and get phone calls through our Blue Tooth devices. However, it’s never a good idea to multitask – at any age!  Looking down at your device, even for one second, can lead to a collision when someone in front of you stops suddenly. You can also swerve into another lane and cause someone else to have an accident.

Why is it so hard for seniors to know when to give up driving?

  • Because driving provides seniors with a feeling of self-worth and independence as well as the ability to be social, enjoy recreational opportunities, travel and see friends and family.
  • It’s not always easy to use public transportation. Waiting for a bus can expose you to the elements, you may have to walk a distance, and it often means you will have to allow more time to get to your destination.
  • Using the Metro system may mean having to drive to a parking lot to get a train, and that can be confusing.

Another reason people don’t give up driving when they are not fully capable of driving safely, is because they don’t necessarily know when their driving is unsafe. It often requires a person’s physician, family member or close friend to intervene.

How do you intervene to get someone off the road?

If you believe that someone should not be driving, you can report the unsafe driver to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Tressa Thompson is the DMV Senior Driver Ombudsman who says if someone is an at-risk driver, a written report needs to be filed with the DMV called “Request for Driver Reexamination” (DS699). The DMV will then initiate an investigation and they will keep the reporter confidential if asked to do so. Both she and CHP Officer Ramirez said this is a serious issue that usually involves the individual’s doctor, who is mandated to report inability to operate a motor vehicle safely, and often friends or family, who may have observed warning signs.

How to report someone as being unsafe behind the wheel?

Tressa says you can get the form at: www.DMV.CA.Gov by searching for “Request for Driver Reexamination” or report DS699. You can also call Tressa if you need more information at: (310) 615-3552

For those who are still healthy and fully functioning, here are some ways to ensure longevity and maintain alertness:

  • Get regular exercise
  • Engage in brain teasers like puzzles or games
  • Stay active – walking, dancing, etc.
  • Maintain good nutrition and hydration
  • Control alcohol intake
  • Take required medications at needed
  • Don’t get behind the wheel if a medication affects motor vehicle skills
  • Don’t drink and drive

When driving, always use the three second rule: Stay a pace of three seconds behind the car in front of you to avoid sudden stops.

Other suggestions:

  • Drive during off-peak hours.
  • Don’t drive at night.
  • Use surface streets to avoid freeways.
  • Know how to reach your destination before you leave home.
  • Have the address and phone number of where you are going written down on paper, not just on your Smart Phone (in case your phone goes dead or gives you wrong info).
  • Use public transportation – seniors get a discount on Metro.

Enter ICE information on your phone.

ICE means “in case of emergency.” This information should be put into your phone for emergency responders to use if something should happen and you are unable to speak.

Maintain your vehicle.

Keep your vehicle in good working order, check your tires to see if they are getting low, have your oil checked at regular intervals, make sure you have washer fluid for your windshield, and make sure your headrest and seat belt are adjusted correctly. The headrest should be directly behind your head, not your neck.

When to Call CHP:

While Sunland-Tujunga is part of the City of Los Angeles and is patrolled by the Los Angeles Police Department, the California Highway Patrol can also be called if there is an emergency on the road. CHP oversees the freeways, county roads, state highways and some unincorporated areas of the City of L.A. They also oversee accidents incidents involving school buses when children are injured.

CHP can also write traffic tickets if they see something illegal occurring in our community!

If you see an incident involving property damage (such as a hit and run) or witness any violence occurring on the road, call it in to either CHP, LAPD or both at the following #s:

  • CHP, Altadena Office: (626) 296-8100 (during the day).
  • LAPD Valley Traffic: (818) 734-2223 (For hit and runs or other property damage)
  • In an emergency, always call “911” or if you spot a drunk driver.

By using an ounce of prevention and caution, most mature drivers can continue to drive safely until it’s time to let others take over by using other means of transportation such as: public assistance, private transportation, buses, Metro or friends and family.

At some point, you may also decide that it’s just “not worth it” to drive long distances, at night, or on the freeways at which point, you can explore other options.