Firefighters demonstrate basic First Aid.
Mark Keppel High School

The ‘Big One’: California is not prepared

I was talking to the Mike Eng, the Vice President of the LA Community College Board, when he said something that was rather striking. “Earthquake preparation is very important.” Eng said. “It is something we should know, but don’t know.”

This conversation took place at the Monterey Park fire station, on Earthquake and Emergency Preparation Day on Jan. 14, 2017; an event hosted by Andrew Yam, a youth commissioner and senior at Mark Keppel High School. The workshop, separated into five different sections, taught over 300 people basic First Aid skills and sidewalk CPR, how to turn off utilities and use a fire extinguisher, and what unstable buildings looked like.

Participants learn how to perform CPR.
Participants learn how to perform CPR.

Something that was specified on the event’s promotional flyer was “hot dog lunch provided.” However, Eng pointed out that despite the available food, “most people [were] looking at the demonstrations.” Truth is, there were many who were barely starting to grasp the concept of earthquake safety.

hotdog The Big One: California is not prepared
Firefighters barbecue hot dogs for lunch.

Last year, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services released a pressing warning regarding a huge earthquake known as the “Big One.” Thankfully, the Big One didn’t hit. But what if it did? How many people would actually be ready for such disaster? According to the Public Policy Institute of California, “only one in three Californians (33%) say they are knowledgeable” about preparing for earthquakes. That in itself is a horrifying low number.

I can’t possibly emphasize how important earthquake safety preparation is. It is this extra knowledge that will save lives and lessen damage. Time and time again earthquakes have hit California. One of the worst ones noted is the notorious 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which killed over 3,000 unsuspecting victims. As residents of California, it is vital we learn from that lesson so we can keep history from repeating itself.

You don’t have to be an expert, but at least dig into how to brace yourself for a natural disaster. Attend earthquake preparation workshops, Google a few tips, and pack an emergency bag. We can’t predict when the Big One will hit, but we can try to be safe and prepared.

Sponsors and important individuals display their awards.
Sponsors and important individuals display their awards.

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