SACRAMENTO – As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake this Friday, January 17th, Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez, Vice Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management and Chair of the Select Committee on Local Emergency Preparedness, is urging Californians to take this day as an opportunity to both reflect and prepare. The magnitude 6.7 tremor killed 50 people, injured over 5,000, and caused more than $20 billion in property damage.
“I’m sure that most Southern Californians can recall just where they were and what they were doing when this massive earthquake struck” said Rodriguez. “I vividly remember watching the devastation on the news and comforting my wife and young children and trying to ease their fears.
The magnitude 4.4 earthquake that occurred this morning near Fontana is just another reminder that a major earthquake can strike at any time and underscores the importance of having a fully developed and well-rehearsed family disaster plan. Having been an Emergency Medical Technician for 29 years I have seen from first-hand experience that being prepared for a disaster can dramatically increase the chances of survival.”
Federal geologists with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) have regularly concluded that there’s a greater than 99% chance that the state will experience a 6.7 or larger earthquake in the next 25 to 30 years. Yet, according to a March 2010 report released by the Alfred E. Alquist Seismic Safety Commission:
- Only 40% of Californians have made family disaster plans.
- Less than 35% of Californians have learned how to make their home structure safer or how to safeguard their finances in case there is an earthquake.
- Fewer than 20% of California households have purchased earthquake insurance (the California Earthquake Authority maintains that this number, as of 2012, is actually closer to 10%).
- Less than 20% have participated in neighborhood disaster planning; and
- Hispanic respondents were the least likely among all racial/ethnic groups to prepare.
The California Earthquake Authority has offered a new line of products to make earthquake insurance options affordable for many homeowners. Participation in The Great Shakeout, the annual nationwide earthquake drill held each October, has increased dramatically in recent years with 9.6 million Californians “ducking and covering” during 2013’s event. In September, Governor Jerry Brown signed a measure into law (Senate Bill 135, Padilla) to lay the foundations for the development of an Earthquake Early Warning System in California, and his recently released 2014-15 Budget Proposal restores $1.49 million for vital funding for earthquake fault mapping.
Assemblymember Rodriguez said, “I am pleased that Governor Jerry Brown has made the important decision to fund the resumption of earthquake fault mapping – an effort that has languished in recent years due to the state’s fiscal crisis. While fiscal prudency is, and will continue to be, imperative, our focus should not be so narrow that it serves as a detriment to California’s public safety, emergency management, and disaster preparedness efforts. I look forward to working with Governor Brown’s Administration and the Legislature in the months and years ahead to ensure the safety of California’s families and the ability of first responders to effectively manage disasters, including a large earthquake.”
Click here for information on how to build a family disaster plan or how to compile an emergency preparedness kit for your vehicle, home, or workplace.
Rodriguez represents the 52nd Assembly District which includes the cities of Chino, Montclair, Ontario, Pomona and portions of unincorporated Fontana.