California Quake Reminders Getting Closer to Home

Often it takes a nearby disaster to shake up complacency. California has just had another chance to recognize the possibility of a major earthquake.

In an article on the New York Times website, Jesse McKinley says Sunday’s 7.2 earthquake in northern Mexico has authorities warning of how unprepared Californians remain, and that budget cuts have further affected their ability to handle a disaster.

“The budget challenges faced by firefighters and other first responders have probably affected preparedness, fire officials say, particularly in remote or lightly populated areas that often depend on larger cities or agencies for help in emergencies,” McKinley writes.

In California, a major earthquake is a question of “when,” not “if” according to seismologists. Even before the quake on either side of Mexico’s border, Mathew Bettenhausen, secretary of the Emergency Management Agency, said the recent deadly quakes in Haiti and Chile were “unwelcome reminders” of what could happen in California.

But most households in the state fail to meet recommendations for many basic emergency needs, like stockpiling water (a minimum of three gallons per person), reinforcing their homes and making disaster plans.

Twenty million people felt the Mexico quake, which authorities hope will get people thinking about preparedness. Businesses in the private sector are better prepared than residents, says the article.

To read the New York Times article click here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/us/06plan.html