USF Libraries
USF Digital Collections

Social response to the 1994 Northridge California earthquake

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
Social response to the 1994 Northridge California earthquake final report
Series Title:
Quick response research report ;
Physical Description:
20 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
O'Brien, Paul W
University of Colorado, Boulder -- Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center
Publisher:
The Center
Place of Publication:
Boulder, CO
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Earthquakes -- California -- Los Angeles   ( lcsh )
Disaster relief -- California -- Los Angeles   ( lcsh )
Genre:
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (p. 20).
Additional Physical Form:
Also issued online as part of a joint project with the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI) Research Library's disaster mental health initiative.
Statement of Responsibility:
submitted by Paul W. O'Brien ; submitted to the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 001985078
oclc - 31877084
usfldc doi - F57-00047
usfldc handle - f57.47
System ID:
SFS0001128:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 standalone no
record xmlns http:www.loc.govMARC21slim xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govstandardsmarcxmlschemaMARC21slim.xsd
leader nam 2200253Ia 4500
controlfield tag 001 001985078
005 20090220155436.0
008 950124s1994 coua b s000 0 eng d
datafield ind1 8 ind2 024
subfield code a F57-00047
035
(OCoLC)31877084
040
INT
c INT
043
n-us-ca
1 100
O'Brien, Paul W.
0 245
Social response to the 1994 Northridge California earthquake :
b final report /
submitted by Paul W. O'Brien ; submitted to the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center.
260
Boulder, CO :
The Center,
1994.
300
20 p. ;
28 cm.
440
Quick response research report ;
v #69
504
Includes bibliographical references (p. 20).
530
Also issued online as part of a joint project with the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI) Research Library's disaster mental health initiative.
650
Earthquakes
z California
Los Angeles.
Disaster relief
California
Los Angeles.
2 710
University of Colorado, Boulder.
Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center.
773
t Natural Hazards Center Collection
TKR
ARL-FMHI
049
FHIM
090
HV600 1994.N67
O27 1994
994
C0
FHI
4 856
u http://digital.lib.usf.edu/?f57.47



PAGE 1

HAZARD HOUSE COE --.-_,...VJV

PAGE 2

SocialResponsetothe1994NorthridgeCaliforniaEarthquakeByPaulW.O'BrienQUICKRESPONSERESEARCHREPORT#691994This publication is partofthe Hazards Research&Applications Information Center's ongoing Quick Response Research Report Series. http://www.colorado.edufhazardsTheviewsexpressedinthisreportarethoseoftheauthorsandnotnecessarilythoseoftheNaturalHazardsCenterortheUniversityofColorado.

PAGE 3

SocialResponsetothe1994NorthridgeCaliforniaEarthquakeFinalReportSubmittedby:Paul W. O'Brien,Ph.D.CaliforniastateUniversity-StanislausDepartmentofSociologyandCriminalJustice801WestMontevistaAveTurlock,CA95382Submittedto:TheNaturalHazardsResearchandApplicationsInformationCenterBoulder,COFall1994

PAGE 4

1IntroductionThefollowingisthefinalreportonthe1994NorthridgeearthquakethatstrucksouthernCaliforniaonJanuary17,1994.Immediatelyfollowingtheoccurrenceofthequake,thisresearcherwassenttothestrickenarea.Thatallowedforthecollectionofperishabledataonoccurrencessurroundingtheimmediateaftermathoftheevent.ThisresearchwassupportedbytheNationalScienceFoundationbyfundsadministeredbytheNaturalHazardsResearchandApplicationsInformationCenter,housedattheUniversityofColoradoinBoulder,Colorado.Thequakemeasured6.8ontheRichterscale.Itcameasasurprisetomany,basedontheepicenter.Seismologistshavenowdeterminedthattheruptureoccurredninemilesundergroundonanunknownthrustfault(Newsweek,1994.p.34).ThelocationoftheepicenterhasbeendeterminedtohavebeenintheNorthridgeareaoftheLosAngelesbasin.NorthridgeisatownintheSanFernandoValley,whichliesseveralmilesnorthoftheCityandCountyofLosAngles.Theepicenterhasgiventhisearthquakeitsname,namelyTheNorthridgeEarthquake.Thelocationoftheepicentermakesthisearthquakeuniquewithimportantlessonstobelearned.Theimportancestemsfromthefactthattheaffectedareaisinhabitedbyapproximatelyninemillionpeople.Thusthepotentialforhighnumbersofinjuriesandfatalitieswasgreat.Anearthquakethis magnituqe isthefirstwithanepicenterinsuchadenselypopulatedareaoftheUnitedStates.The1989LornaPrietaearthquake,in

PAGE 5

2contrast,didaffecttheninemillionpeopleintheSanFranciscoBayArea,buttheepicenterofthateventwaslocatedinaveryruralmountainousareacalledLomaPrietaintheareaaroundSantaCruz,California.Giventhepotentialforhighdestruction,beitproperty,orlife,theNorthridgeearthquakedeservesattention.sections-willinclude:lifelines/infrastructure,immediatepublicresponse,levelofcitizenpreparedness,therecovery,andconclusions.Thisfinalreportpresentsfindingsfromthreedaysoffieldwork.Daysincludethedayoftheearthquake,andtwosUbsequentdaysinthestrickenarea.Theimmediacyofaccesstothefieldallowedthisresearchertointerviewrespondentsastheeventsunfoldedincludingexperiencingthemanyaftershocksthatoccurred.TheEventTheearthquakestruckonJanuary17,1994at4:31a.m.inthemorning.Thiswasthepositivenewsabouttheearthquake.PositiveinthattheearlymorninghourwasoneofthefewtimesthatacitythesizeofLosAngelesrests.TheCityandCountyofLosAngelesiscurrentlyhometooverthreemillionpeople.Thesurroundingsuburbscontributesanotherfourmillion,bringingthemetropolitanpopulationtowelloverninemillionpeople.Intermsofarea,theLosAngelesbasincomprisesover452squaremiles.Anotherevent"conspired"onthedayoftheearthquaketohelpresidentsofthecityofAngles.January17th,thedayof

PAGE 6

3thequake,wasanofficialholiday.ThevastmajorityofmetropolitanarearesidentshadMondayfreetocelebrateMartinLutherKingDay.Thisholidaytranslatedintofreewaysthatweremuchemptierthanonausualcomputingday.Manyarearesidentswereoutoftheareaenjoyingthethreedayholiday.Thishelpedintheinitialresponsebyemergencycrews.TrafficjamsresultedMondayeveningasconcernedfamiliesattemptedtoreunitewiththeirrelativesfromoutsidethecity.Onefinalaspecthelpedtheareadealwithimmediateproblemsitfacedinthedaysfollowingtheearthquake.Thatfinalfactorwastheweather.NormalweatherpatternsinLosAngelesduringthemonthofJanuaryarecharacterizedbyrain.Januarywasdrierthanothersinthepast.Skieswereblueandtemperatureswereinthe70s.Theweatherhadaprofoundimpactonhowresidentsdealtwiththenumerousaftershocksthatoccurred.Largenumbersofcityresidentssleptoutside.Sleepingoutsideisnota newphenomenafollowinganearthquake.SimilarstorieshavebeentoldimmediatelyfollowingtheLornaPrietaearthquake(BolinandStanford,1990.p.101).ThosesleepingoutsidefollowingtheNorthridgeearthquakenumberedinthethousands.OnecouldnotdrivedownanystreetintheNorthridgesectionoftown,andnotfindtentsstakedoutonlawns,inparks,andanywhereelseresidentscouldfindroom.Itisasifmothernatureconspiredwithresidentstomaketheirinitialmiserymorebearable.

PAGE 7

4MethodologyGiventhequickresponseofthisresearcherenteringthefield,aqualitativemethodologywasemployed.Theresearcherwasintheareathedayoftheearthquake.Respondentswereselectedbasedonavailability.Once arespondentwaselocated,astructuredinterviewwasadministeredtothatperson.Thistypeofdatacollectionallowsforimmediatedatatobecollected,butdoesnotallowthisstudytobegeneralizedbeyondthepopulationinterviewed.Giventhesizeoftheaffectedareathreesub-locationswerechosenasrepresentativeoftheregion.InterviewswerecompletedindowntownLosAngles,Northridge,andinPasadena.DowntownLosAngleswasselectedforseveralreasonsincluding:1)muchoftheemergencywasdirectedfromtheCityandCountybuildingintheirEmergencyOperationsCenter(EOC),2)LosAnglesformsthecoreofthearea,and3)muchoftheinfrastructuree.g.,1-10damagedoccurredwithinthecityandCountyofLosAngeles.Northridgewasselectedbecause:1)itiswheretheepicenterwaslocated,2) someofthehighestratesofoveralldamageoccurredthere,and3)ithadthehighestleveloffatalities.FinallyPasadenawasselectedforinclusionbecause:1)itwasoutsidethemajorstrickenarea,2)itsufferedminimallevelsofdamageandnofatalities,and3)itwasthususedasabaselinefor"normal"urbanactivity,followinganearthquake.Approximately31interviewswerecompletedinthethreedaysfollowingtheeventwithsomeviathetelephone.Thephone

PAGE 8

5interviewsweredoneinordertohavetheinputofofficialspokespeoplefromorganizationstooinvolvedintheon-goingemergencytotaketimeawayfromtheiremergencydutiestocompleteaninterview.Manyinterviewsincludedotherfamilymembers,neighbors,orpassers-by,butsuchinterviewswerecountedasonefortheprimarypersoninterviewed.From 31interviews,approximately15werewithresidentsinthethreeareasnotedabove.Nineinterviewswerewithpolice,fire,andmilitarypersonnelondutyinvariouslocationsduringtheon-goingemergency.TwointerviewswerewithpersonnelworkinginthecountyEOCs,andthreemiscellaneousinterviewsincludedpeoplefromstateandfederalagencies.Twowereinterviewswithnon-profitorganizationsinvolvedintheemergency,mostnotablytheRedCross.Lifelines/InfrastructureLifelinesareanimportantareaofconcerninanynaturaldisaster.ThisholdsespeciallytruewithanareaaslargeanddenselypopulatedasthatstrickenbytheNorthridgeearthquake.Datawerecollectedandreportedontheextentofthedisruptioncausedbythequake.TheNorthridgeearthquakewassimilartootherearthquakeshereintheUSandabroad.Aftertheinitialmainshockthefiredepartmentwasinconstantfiresuppressionmode.Thebulkofthesefireshadbegunduetogaspipesbreaksfromtheearthquake.FiredepartmentsintheLosAngelesareaworkedround

PAGE 9

6theclockinthefirstdaysafterthequake.Asnotedinthemethodologysectionsomeinterviewswerecompletedweekslaterduetoemergencypersonnel'sengagementintheon-goingemergency.Thefiredepartmentisatypicalexample.Itwasimpossibletogetaccesstofiredepartmentpersonnelinlevelsofcommandinthedaysfollowingthequake.Firedepartmentpersonnelwereworking12hourshifts.Asnotedabovetheearthquakeoccurredat4:31a.m.themorningofJanuary17,1994.TheLosAngelesFireDepartment(LAFD)wentimmediatelyintotheirEarthquakeEmergencyOperationalMode.At4:35a.m.orfourminutesfollowingtheearthquaketheEmergencyOperationsCenterwasactivated.ItwasofficiallyclosedonFebruary10,24daysaftertheearthquake.By7:00a.m.,thatmorningtheLAFDhadrespondedtoover100incidents.By9:45a.m.,allfiresinthevalleywereundercontrol,withnoactivemajorstructurefiresinprogress(LAFD,1994.p.3).Withinthefirst24hoursfollowingtheearthquaketheLAFDhadrespondedtoover2,200incidents,approximately21/2timesthedailyaverage(LAFD,1994.p.3).The12hourshiftonand12hoursoffwasalsomandatedfortheLosAngelesPoliceDepartment.Thecityseemedfullofpoliceimmediatelyfollowingtheearthquake.ThereweremanyconcernsaboutpUblicorderfollowingtheearthquake.Thisconcernforpublicsafetyistypicalaftermostnaturaldisasters,thoughresearchclearlyshowsthatmostfearsarelargelyunfounded(Hodler,1982.p.48).TheLAFDdidreportsporadiclooting,but

PAGE 10

7itdidnotappeartobewidespread(LAFD,1994.p.2).TheconcernforpUblicsafetycanonlybeunderstoodwithinthelocalideographiccontextofLosAngeles.ThecityofLosAngeleshasexperiencedhightensions,basedonpoorracerelationsinthecity.Thesepoorracerelationscametoboilinthesummerof1991whenSouthCentralLosAngeleseruptedinriots.RepresentativesofLosAngeles,throughvariousmediasources,statedcategorically,that"SouthCentral"wouldnothappenagaininthewakeoftheearthquake.Thuspolicepresencewaseverywhere.Forexample,onatypicaldayintheCityandcountyofLosAngeles,between500and600arrestsaremadebythepolicedepartment.Inthe24hourtimeperiodfollowingthequake,73arrestsweremade(asnotedonKFWBRadioAM980). Onecouldarguethatthequakeitselfhadaneffect,whichitmusthave,butsufficeittosaythatpolicepresencewaseverywhereinthecitymakingacriminal'slifeextremelydifficultasaresultoftheriothistoryandthenearthquake.watersupplywasalsointerrupted.Immediatelyfollowingtheearthquake,itwasreportedthatthreeofthecity'sfouraqueductshadbeendamagedandcouldnotcarryanywater.Initialestimatesreportedatotalof3000-4000breaksthroughoutthesystem.Therewaswidespreadconcernthatwatermightrunoutinthecity.Variouscitygovernmentsgottogethertodevotewhateverresourceswerenecessarytogetwaterrunningagain.TheWaterDepartmentintheCityandCountyofLosAngelesworkedround-the-clocktorestorewatertothecity.

PAGE 11

8TheLosAngelesschoolsystemwasalsoheavilydamagedfollowingthemainshockandsubsequentaftershocks.Immediatelyfollowingtheevent,itwasreportedthatover300pUblicschoolsinthebasinweredamagedandcouldnotbeused,untilmajorimprovementshadbeenmade.ThisleftapUblicwiththeaddedburdenofnotknowingwhereandwhentheirchildrenmightresumeattendingschool.Theclosingofschoolsbringsmanyproblems.Thefirstandmostobviousisthatchildrenarenotattendingandlearning.Inaddition,schooltomanychildrenisnotonlyalearningplace,butservesimportantsocialfunctionsaswell.Manychildrenlikearoutine,andschoolbelongstothatnormalroutine.Themassclosingofschoolsthrewmanychildrenoutoftheirroutine.Thismeantthatchildrenneededtostayhomewithotherfamilymembersforlongperiodsoftime.Theywerenotaroundtheirusualplaymates,andseveralchildreninterviewedviatheirparents,expressedgreatconcernoverthesafetyoftheirclassmates;thatis,hadtheysurvived?Thisuncertainlyaboutplaymatesandanormalroutineincreasedthestressandtensionalreadypresentinmanyparents.ThereallifelinesstoryintheNorthridgeearthquakeconcernedthefreeways.LosAngelesisatypicalexampleofAmericandependenceontheautomobile.Itisacitythatiscriss-crossedbyfreeways.Itisacitywheremasstransittakesabackseattotheprivateautomobile. A totalof11majorbreaksinthefreewaysystemoccurredasaresultoftheearthquake.

PAGE 12

9Themostdamagingbreakoccurredwith1-5bridgescollapsingnorthofthecity.Thebreak,ineffect,cutofftheregiontotrafficmovingeithernorthorsouth,inoroutofthecity.ThesecondmajorbreakoccurredwiththecollapseoftheSantaMonicafreewayalsonamed1-10.1-10isthebusiestfreewaytraveledinAmerica.Itcarriesthebulkofcitytrafficacrosstown.TheclosingoftheSantaMonicafreewaymeantthatoverninemillionpeopleneededtotakesmall,crowdedsecondarystreetstocrossthecity.Theimportanceofthefreewaycollapsesandclosuresgoesfarbeyondtheapparentfrustrationofneedingmoretimetogetwhereoneisgoing.Therewaswidespreaduneasinessofresidentshavingtheirfreedomofmovementtakenawaybytheearthquake.Considerabletimewasgiveneverynightonthenewstoupdatepeopleonwhatwasclosedandwhatwasopen.Thetimegiventotheproblemfaroutstrippedtheactualrealitywithlocalculturaldynamicscomingintoplay.PublicResponsePublicresponseformsthecoreofthisquickresponsereport.WhatdidthepUblicdointheimmediateaftermathoftheearthquake?Howdidpeoplerespondtothemainshockandaftershocks?Whatweretheinformationflowsimmediatelyfollowingtheevent?Finally,whatwerethelevelsofpreparednessandearthquakeawarenessofcitizens?

PAGE 13

10ImmediatePublicResponseThirtyyearsofdisasterresearchgivesoneafairlyclearvisionofwhattranspiresfollowingamajornaturaldisastersuchastheNorthridgeearthquake.Asexpected,therewastheperiodimmediatelyfollowingtheeventwhenvictims,andotherscometogethertoaidoneanother.Bartonhascalledthisthealtruisticcommunity(Barton,1969.p.206).Thistimeperiodischaracterizedbyheroiceventsandunselfishsacrifice.Northridgewasnoexception.Therewas aclearconvergenceofpeopletothestrickenareaimmediatelyfollowingtheevent.Thoserepresentedincluded:fire,police,andotheremergencypersonnel.Inaddition,manyofthestrickenresidentswenttoneighboringpartsoftheirareastoassistotherswho,forwhateverreason,hadexperiencedmoredamagethanthemselves.Therewasclearlyasenseof"altruisticcommunity"inthehoursanddaysfollowingtheearthquake.Overallthebestdescriptionofresidentsintheentireareasurveyedcouldbedescribedasfear.ManyinterviewswerecompletedbylongtermnativeCalifornians. The mostoftenrepeatedstatementwastheforcewithwhichtheearthquakestruck.Seismologistsarenowlookingintotheeventinmoredetail.Mostresidentsdescribedaviolentrollingmotionthattheyclaimwasdifferentfromtheirpastexperiences.AftertheinitialmainshockmanyspokeofleavingtheLosAngelesbasinandneverreturning.Itisbelievedthatthereasonsfortheseremarksweretwo-fold.Firstthiswas alarge

PAGE 14

11earthquake,anddidconsiderabledamage.Currentdamageestimatesareover30billiondollars.Thesewilllikelygohigher.Thedamagewasevidentinallareasofthebasin.Publicstructures,infrastructure,andprivateresidenceswereallaffected.Damage wasparticularlyextensiveintheNorthridgearea,whichhasreceivedextensivemediacoverage.Thereweremanyotherunpublisheddamagepockets.Manyoftheselocationswerefurthernorthinthemountainssurroundingthebasin.NameslikeGranadaHills,Saugus,Piru,andSantaClaritaarejustafewofthe"unknown"locationsthatreceivedconsiderabledamageandlittleattention.Theydid,however,addtothecollectivepsychologicalscarringoftheregion.ThesecondmajorreasonforthewidespreadfearonthepartofmanyinsouthernCaliforniacanbeattributedtodisasteroverload.SouthernCaliforniahasexperiencedanumberofwellpublicizednatural,andhuman-causeddisasters.Someofthesecouldinclude:theRodneyKingriotsin1991,thefirestormsthatburneddownhundredsofhomesinthecanyonsabovethecityin1992,mudslidesfollowingthefirestorms,andfinallytheNorthridgeearthquake.combined,theseeventshavehadacumulativeresultofmakingthepUblicoverloadedandtired,ineverysenseoftheword.Thusinthemanyinterviewscompletedwiththepublictherewas aresilienceseeninAmericansfollowinganydisaster,butalsoagreatapprehensionofwhatwillcomenext.AnotherexceptionalaspectabouttheNorthridge

PAGE 15

12wasthatitstruckalate20thcenturydiversemultiracial/multi-culturalregion.LosAngelesiscomposedofawidevarietyofpeopleofdifferentcolorandethnicbackgrounds.ThisphenomenoncameintoplayinLosAngeles,andisperhapsoneofthevaluablelessonstobelearnedforthefuture.Northridgewasoneofthehardesthitareasintheregion.California,however,doeshavebuildingcodesthataredesignedtopreventortomitigatelossesinsuchanevent.Northridgehashundredsofapartmentbuildings.Itwasoneofthesetypicalthreestorybuildingsthatcollapsedandcaused16deathsattheNorthridgeMeadowsapartmentcomplex(Newsweek,1994.p.31).Manyoftheapartmentbuildingsintheareafailed.TheareawasinundatedwithU-Haultrucksimmediatelyfollowingtheearthquakebyresidentsattemptingtomovetheirpossessionsout,beforeitwas"RedTagged",i.e.,deemedunsafebytheBuildingDepartment.ManyinhabitantsintheseapartmentcomplexescouldbecharacterizedascomingfromlowerSocioeconomicbackgrounds.Many cornefromdifferentracial/ethnicbackgrounds,primarilyHispanic.ManyintheHispaniccommunitiesfirstreactionwastoleavetheirbuildings,andtoremainoutside.Asnightapproached,theyresolvedinlargenumbers,nottoreenterthebuildings.Thousandsremainedoutsidefordaysandevenweeksfollowingtheearthquake.Thisprovedtobealogisticalnightmaretomanyemergencyworkersandaidorganizations.Theyneededtogotoparks,playgrounds,andotherpublicplacestolocatevictimsof

PAGE 16

13theearthquake.Inadditiontothelocatingproblem,therewasalsoalanguagebarrier.Manyinthiscommunityarefirstgenerationimmigrants.LosAngelesalsohasasizableillegalpopulation.EstimatesrangeashighasonemillionillegalimmigrantsinCalifornia.CommontobothgroupsisthelackofEnglishatalevelofunderstandingforwarningstothepublic.Completinggovernmentpaperworkforreimbursementoflossesisevenmoreproblematic.OneofthemajorlessonslearnedfromtheNorthridgeearthquakeisthatthisisadiverseregion.Muchhasbeenwrittenontheaspectofrumorsfollowingadisasterevent(Scanlon,1977.p.125).Theserumorscandealwithmoreeventsi.e.,aftershocksorwithperhapsnumberoffatalities,orrumorsofhelporlackthereof.ThisnotionofrumorsoccurredaftertheNorthridgeearthquake,butinmanylanguagesandcultures.ThewarningprocessbecameathreedimensionalproblemwithcUlture,language,andrace.Thiscompoundedtheproblemofthoseingovernment.ItwastheirtasktoputoutgoodreliableinformationtothepUblic,toquenchrumors.Thattaskbecameamulti-facetedeffort,giventhediversepopulationsforwhomthemessagewastargeted.FurtherresearchneedstobedoneintheareatoreflectthecurrentrealitiesofmanyAmericancities.

PAGE 17

14LevelofcitizensPreparednessTheNorthridgeearthquakesurprisinglycarneasasurprisetomany.SurprisingbecauseCaliforniais"earthquakecountry".Pastresearchhasconsistentlyshownthatthereisaphenomenacalledearthquake"culture"inpartsofCalifornia(MiletiandHutton,1987,FitzpatrickandO'Brien,1992).ResidentsofsouthernCaliforniaroutinelyjokeandmakefunofthe"BigOne".(Thebigonebeingananticipated8.0Richterorgreatermagnitudeearthquake).WhensmallerearthquakeshappeninsouthernCaliforniathereisimmediatewidespreadspeculationthatthiswillbethepreludetothe"BigOne".Giventhisearthquakeculturecoupledwithconstantreminders,i.e.,smallearthquakesalwayshappeninginthearea,onewouldlogicallyconcludethatapopulationsUbjectedtosuchearthquakedynamicswouldhavelearnedtheirlessonsandwouldshowhighlevelsofpreparedness.Fromthemajorityofinterviewscompletedinthisministudy,fromallprintmediainvestigatedandallofthemassmediadigestedinthetimeperiodpossible,justtheoppositeistrue.ThoseresidentsinterviewedandprobablymanyothersintheLosAngelesbasinwerewhollyunpreparedforthis6.8Rearthquake,letalonethe"BigOne".EmergencymanagersandotherswhoseresponsibilityitistoprotectthepUblic,havebeenwarningthispopulationforyears,ifnotdecades,tobeprepared.Therearefreefilmsavailable,pUblicspeakersfromseveralcityandcountyagenciesonthe

PAGE 18

15topicandthemonthofAprilisdevotedinCaliforniatoearthquakeawareness.Californiansdonotlackresourcesoravailablematerialonthetopic.Thefirstcrisisoccurredoverwater.Asnotedinthelifelinessection,threeofLosAngeles'fouraqueductsweredamaged.Thuswaterservicewascutofftolargepartsofthe-city.Thiswasinitiallyaminorproblemondayone,butasthetimegrew,sodidtheimpatienceofthepublic.ManydemandscamefromthepublicthattheNationalGuardbringinwaterimmediately.Why----fewresidentshadfollowedthebasicadvicetohaveathreedaywatersupplyonhandinsuchanemergency.Ofallinterviewscompleted,onlytworeportedhavingstoredanydrinkingwater.Themostoftengivenanswerastowhynotwasthebeliefthateitherthecity'swatersupplywouldnotbeaffectedinanearthquakeorthattherespondentdidn'tfeelitnecessarysinceanoccurrencewashighlyunlikely.ClearlyresidentsintheLosAngelesbasinareriskadverse.Theyliveinanearthquakeculture,butclingontothebeliefthatitwillnotaffectthem.Foodalsoquicklybecameaproblem.MostfoodstoresintheNorthridgeareawereclosed.Inaddition,-andapparentlycrippling,mostfastfoodrestaurantswerealsodamagedand/orclosed.Residentsintheareamusthavehadfewprovisionsforthiseventually.OnepUblicservicethatradioprovidedwastoannouncerestaurantsthatwereopen.Thisenabledthosewithoutfoodtogetameal.NaturallytheRedCrosswasquickinrespondingwithemergencyfoodkitchens,whichwerewellattended

PAGE 19

16onceinoperation.Earthquakeinsuranceisanotherfactorthatcomestomindinlookingatpreparednessandbeliefinfutureearthquakeevents.Itwaswidelyreportedinbothprintandmassmediathatfewerthantwenty-fivepercentofhomeownershadanytypeofearthquakeinsurance.Itdoes,however,begthequestionwhydosofewresidentsina knownseismicactiveareacarryanyprotectionfortheirpersonalproperty?Againonecanconcludethatthisisariskadversepopulation.Apopulationthatroutinelyjokesaboutthe"BigOne",butdoeslittleoranythingtoprotectitselffrompossibledamage,beitfinancialorotherwise.ConclusionsThisfinalsectionwilldrawconclusions,basedonthedescriptionabove.TheNorthridgeearthquakewasanexpensiveeventbyanystandard.Sixty-onepersonslosttheirlivesasaresultoftheearthquake.Themajority,57,occurredintheCityandCountyofLosAngeles.Inaddition,currentdamagefiguresarebeingsetataround30billiondollars.Thisnumberissuretoriseuntiltheregioniswholeagain.Therearemanylessonstobelearnedfromtheevent.Someofthesearenewlessons,manyhavebeenrepeatedaftereachsuchevent,withlessonsnotbeinglearnedandinternalized.Thefirstlessonisthatearthquakeshappen,andthepUbliccanprepareitselfforsuchevents.Publicoutreachisnecessaryatalllevelsofthepopulation,government,andtheprivatesector.The

PAGE 20

17theoryofriskcommunicationisbeingusedbyaneverwideninggroupofofficials,whosetaskitistoprotectthepUblic.FollowinganeventliketheNorthridgeearthquake,itbearsrepeatingagain.ThepUblicneedsasteadyflowofinformationtoencouragethemintoaction.Americancitiesarebecomingmoreraciallyandethnicallydiverseasweproceedintothe21stcentury.Thisfactmustberecognizedbyemergencymanagers.Organizationsneedtohavepersonnelavailablewhocancommunicatewithmajorgroupsinsociety.Barringthishappening,thesegroupsinsocietywilltakeonanincreasinglydisproportionateamountoftherisk.Thiswilloccursincetheirdecisionswillbebasedoninaccurateorlackofinformation.Thisdemographicfactmustalsoberecognizedbytheleadagencyindisasters,namelythefederalEmergencyManagementAgency(FEMA).FEMAisinthepositionofhavingregionaloffices.Theselocalofficesmustbetaskedwithknowingthepopulationbreakdownsoftheirregionsandultimatelybeingabletodealwiththosepopulations,whentheneedarises.ThecrywasloudandlongfollowingtheNorthridgeearthquakethatFEMApersonneltakingapplicationsneededtobebi-lingual.FEMAshouldaddressanofficialpolicyonthistopic,beforetheyareforcedtoinfutureevents.ThemassmediaplayedapivotalrolefollowingtheNorthridgeearthquake.Theydidrepeataftershockwarningswithgreatregularity.Theydevotedcountlesshourstotheevent.

PAGE 21

18Governmentleaders,andemergencymanagersneedtokeepthelinesofcommunicationopentonewsorganizations.Whentheneedarises,theywillbeinapositionofknowingthenewspersonnel.ThatrelationshipcanbeusedtoinformthepUbliconthelatestnewstheyneedfortakingprotectiveactions.Insuranceisanotherareathatneedsreappraisal.Muchofthelossfromtheearthquakeis,bydefault,theresponsibilityofthefederalgovernment.Onemainreasonforthisisthatthevastmajorityofhomeownershaveelectednottocarryearthquakeinsurance.Homeownershave,ineffect,shiftedtheirrisktothefederalgovernment.Perhapsthistooshouldbereevaluated.Onepossiblesolutionistodesignateregionswhereearthquakeinsuranceismandatory.Thustheprivatesectorcouldalsotakepartinthereconstructionphase.ThepurchaseofinsurancemightalsobeconsideredbythepUblicsector.Historicallygovernmenthasbeenself-insured.Veryoftenthiswasdonetosaveshort-termcoststothetaxpayers.Northridgemightbeaneventtorethinkthispolicy.LosAngelesnowisinthepositionofrebuilding300pUblicschools,andmanyotherpublicbuildings.Whatwillthetotalcostbe?Thesamequestionremainsalsoforthestategovernment.TheCaliforniastateUniversityNorthridgecampusexperiencedover350milliondollarsindamage.Almosttheentirecampusmustnowberebuilt.Mightithavebeenbettertospreadthatriskalsototheprivatesector?Schoolsareonlyonepartofmanybuildingsandotherfacilitieslostbythemanygovernmentsthatcomprise

PAGE 22

19theLosAngelesbasin.Nowtheregionwillbepayinghighertaxes,possiblypassingnewearthquakerelatedbondissues,andothermeasuresof tax collectiontorebuild.Couldpartofthatburdenhavebeenshiftedby having hadsomeformofprivateearthquakeinsurance?Theseandotherquestionsremain.

PAGE 23

20ReferencesBarton,AlanH.1969."communitiesinDisaster".NY:AnchorBooks.Bolin,RobertandLoisstanford.1990."ShelterandHousingIssuesinSantaCruzCounty"inTheLomaPrietaEarthquake:StudiesofShort-TermImpacts(RobertBolin,ed.)Fitzpatrick,CollenandPaulW.O'Brien.1992."SocialResponsetotheFirst"A"AlertoftheParkfieldEarthquake-PredictionExperiment".Finalreportsubmitted:Boulder,CO;TheNaturalHazardsResearchApplicationsandInformationCenter,UniversityofColoradoHodler,ThomasW.1982."Residents'PreparednessandResponsetotheKalamazooTornado".Disasters6(No.1)44-49.LAFD,1994."OfficialNorthridgeEarthquakeActionReport".LosAnglesCountyFireDepartment.Mileti,DennisS.andJaniceR.Hutton.1987."InitialPublicResponsetotheApril51985ParkfieldEarthquakePrediction".Boulder,CO;TheNaturalHazardsResearchApplicationsandInformationCenter,UniversityofColoradoNewsweekmagazine.1994.January31,1994ScanlonT.Joseph.1977."Post-DisasterRumorChains:ACaseStudy".MassEmergencies2:121-126.