It Can't Happen Here...
"The Bay Area has the highest concentration of earthquake faults in the world."
“The bad news: The chances of the Big Quake happening in the next 30 years are about 90%, and the odds are that it will be in our own back yard.”
Along the West Coast from Canada to Mexico, we still think "the Big One" won’t really happen, even though we’ve been told repeatedly by every geologist and every emergency response and emergency management agency that it will. The odds of a hurricane the size of Katrina were extremely small - less than a 1% probability. The odds of the Big Quake have been reported conservatively at about 70% probability, and by the specialists in the trenches say 90%.
"In the next 30 years" by the way, doesn’t mean after 30 more years (hello) it means any time now, within this 30 year time span we are already in. It could be today, or tonight while you sleep. How prepared are you? There is no question of IF it will happen; the only question is WHEN, and Katrina surely is telling us we’d best not wait till the last minute to do what we can to prepare. That will be way too late.
Here are a few things we KNOW:
1. The areas of destruction probably will be vast, and potentially spread over a much larger area than Katrina.
The majority of these training programs are based on a similar framework called CERT (Citizens Emergency Response Training) or NERT (neighborhood Emergency Response Training) and the training is often provided for free locally through either Police or Fire Departments.
"One thing we know about the Bay Area is that there is no escape – we all live near a fault-line."
The evolution of Oakland's CORE program began in 1989 with the Loma Prieta Earthquake and the sudden destruction of more than a mile of the I-589 freeway. The upper level of traffic and roadway collapsed onto the lower level, crushing and trapping the cars and drivers below. In that catastrophic event, the responsibility for commanding the massive response and rescue operations was Battalion Chief Manny Navarro. He was surprised to see, firsthand, that the greatest number of rescues were not made by the million-dollar earth-moving equipment, not the fire engines or the ambulances or the sonar devices. The greatest number of rescues were made by the people who lived near the freeway, in the neighborhood.
Why? Because in the first crucial moments, they were already there. They rushed to help, climbing up on dangerously unstable broken structures to pull people out and hand them down to others waiting to receive them below, and carry them to a safe area. With no equipment and no training, they responded as human beings and did whatever they could. Later Chief Navarro said (and I paraphrase, but this is essentially accurate) “I realized we are spending the most money for the fewest results. It was obvious – We should be training the people in the neighborhood.” That became a priority of the Oakland Fire Department. Ultimately C.E.R.T. programs developed all across America.
When a massive disaster happens and thousands of people are injured, NO city has thousands of ambulances, or thousands of empty hospital beds. Besides, virtually ALL of the hospitals in the East Bay are sitting within one mile or less from an active earthquake fault line. Even if there are roads open, and even if you could get to a hospital, it might be destroyed, or shut down and evacuated. And even if it is open, it will be swarmed like a rock concert with desperate people trying to get in. So if nobody can help us for 24 hours or more, as they realistically predict, how can we survive? We will have to help ourselves and each other.
A final thought: Let a start be made.