Preparing for the Shake-Out

Many have heard about the “ShakeOut” due in Southern California in the very near future. Out of those, however, few actually understand how to prepare for the pending earthquake.

To remedy this, the Temple City Chamber of Commerce, Temple City Unified School District (TCUSD) , and the City of Temple City itself together sponsored a “Get Ready to ShakeOut!” informational meeting at 7:00 PM in the Temple City High School Media Center.

Opening the meeting was Linda Payne from the Chamber of Commerce. She informed the audience that this would be the first joint earthquake preparation seminar in the history of Temple City, and that they would be learning all about not only the repercussions of the earthquake, but the ways in which we can prepare for the “Big Bang.”

Guest speakers that night were from the San Gabriel Valley Pomona Chapter American Red Cross. In order to individually serve our city, two representatives from the chapter spoke. Paul Holman, the Director of Special Projects at the Red Cross, began his section by telling all members of the audience to snap their fingers. “That is just about as much warning as you are likely to have in a real earthquake” he concluded afterward, “from that point forward, your lives could be changed forever.”

This dire prediction rang true as Holman, and later on his colleague Rich Baenen, the Director of Emergency Services, showed the attendees statistics of the predicted earthquake. The earthquake they watched simulated was an earthquake of 7.8 on the Richter scale, 50 times larger than the 1994 Earthquake. Such terrifying numbers as 1800 people dead and 50,000 injured in the first hour alone were thrown out; the audience was warned that the devastation would be beyond the capacity of public service agencies.

“The fire department is not going to come to your house” stated Baenen, “they might be victims as well.” The amount of highway blockage alone would cause around half a million commuters stranded on highways, or, as Holman put it, “the mother of all traffic jams.”

As Baenen took the stage, a more optimistic light was cast upon the situation. He showed the audience how to prepare for the earthquake: which items to bring, which actions to perform at what time. For example, he told those who attended to pick a common meeting place with the rest of the family in case they were separated. He encouraged the audience to follow their children’s example to “Duck, Cover, and Hold.” Baenen had Lisa Liu, an Oak Avenue Intermediate student; lead the entire room as they ducked under the tables.

He also asked the audience to join the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) program, which Brian Ariizumi from Temple City spoke about. The CERT program will be starting classes in January; everyone will be required to take 20 hours of class to qualify.

“The CERT program is something that would be able to assist and train you” explained Ariizumi, “It allows you to take care of yourself and your family, first and foremost.”

The three also advertised the Southern California ShakeOut Disaster Preparedness Exercise on November 13, in which the Red Cross will actually set up an earthquake shelter. “It will affect every public entity in the state of California” Holman said, “It will be the largest disaster preparedness event in the history of the United States.”

Payne ended the 2-hour-long presentation by asking the audience and anyone else who would be interested to attend the second presentation on October 29. Everyone is invited to attend, because, as Holman said, “The condition that you’re likely to be in following the earthquake is going to be directly related to how you’re prepared for it.”


This article was written by Angela Wen. It was published in the Temple City Voice on October 29, 2008.


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