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It was almost two decades ago when the 6.7-magnitude Northridge earthquake devastated the greater Los Angeles area, collapsing freeways, crumbling buildings and killing about 60 people. The question now isn’t if “The Big One” will hit, but when, said local public safety and emergency-preparedness officials who advised Long Beach residents last week on how to make disaster kits, coordinate emergency plans and get involved to prepare for a disaster.
The event was coordinated in conjunction with the fifth annual Great California ShakeOut, a statewide earthquake drill that took place yesterday, Oct. In a 50-square-mile city with a population of just under 500,000 people, Long Beach residents should be prepared for slower public-safety response times than normal during a widespread disaster. In such a scenario, residents should be prepared to be “self-reliant” with supplies able to last at least seven days since available resources will most likely be spread thin, said Ian Whyte, emergency services officer and COO of American Red Cross Greater Long Beach and Rio Hondo Chapters.
One of the topics discussed during 5th District Councilmember Gerrie Schipske’s emergency-preparedness roundtable on Oct. Residents should also create an emergency plan, which involves coordinating with family members, friends and neighbors on what to do in a disaster, and they should also know where the nearest disaster shelter might be located, Whyte said. Cathy Coy, manager of the Long Beach Unified School District’s (LBUSD) emergency-preparedness program, said emergency plans and supplies are in place for each of the 95 schools spread throughout Long Beach, Signal Hill and Lakewood. However, Coy said there are only 18 schools identified by the Red Cross as potential “shelter sites,” since many elementary schools were built in the 1950s or earlier and can only accommodate small children. However, he warned that, unless a person smells or hears natural gas coming from a residence or business structure, it’s best not to manually turn the gas valve off, since turning it off may actually increase the risk for an explosion, and it may take weeks or even months for public utility officials to properly turn the gas back on again.

Residents with permanent or temporary disabilities are encouraged to register with the Los Angeles County’s Specific Needs Awareness Planning (SNAP) program, a secured online database that helps emergency personnel locate disabled residents during emergencies. Item: B41-4007 [178] PREMIUM EARTHQUAKE EMERGENCY KIT Everything You Need For An Earthquake Emergency! We promise to never spam you, and just use your email address to identify you as a valid customer. 18, at exactly 10:18am, when millions of people practiced the state’s “Drop, Cover and Hold On” safety procedure. The forecast also predicts that, out of all faults in the state, the San Andreas Fault in Southern California has the highest probability (59 percent) for causing such an earthquake during that timeframe. According to Long Beach Fire Chief Mike DuRee, “it depends” if you’re at home, at work or in transit. Although the Long Beach Fire Department currently has four fire trucks, eight paramedic rescue ambulances and eight basic-life-support ambulances, emergency responses will have to be prioritized, explained DuRee. Food and medications should also be set aside for pets, and important documents should be put in a safe place. She said, in a disaster situation, schools identified as shelters may still have to be assessed for damage, adding that actual shelter locations would be posted on the school district’s website and at administration offices.
Alan Winter, engineering and construction manager for the Long Beach Gas & Oil Department, recommended that residents make sure water heaters are secured in place, adding that the most common cause of fires during the Northridge quake was unsecured water heaters that fell over and caused natural-gas line breaks.

10, Alan Winter, engineering and construction manager for the Long Beach Gas & Oil Department (far right), demonstrates how to turn off a residential gas valve in the event that a gas line breaks due to a major earthquake.
In addition, residents are encouraged to receive emergency-preparedness training through the Long Beach Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Earthquake Emergency Preparedness is now a very real concern and having the right emergency supplies when an emergency hits can mean the difference between life and death.
More recent studies conclude that the San Andreas has the capability to produce a magnitude 7.8 or larger earthquake. But the safest thing to do, he said, is to stay inside and seek cover under something hard and stable, such as a desk. This "Custom Made Earthquake Emergency Kit" has everything you will need for your next earthquake emergency.
Everything is neatly pre-packed inside a heavy duty water resistant cooler bag and ready for immediate use.

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