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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