Californians urged to raise quake awareness

10:19, March 05, 2010      

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For all the attention generated by the Haiti and Chile earthquakes, experts warned that quake preparedness among Californians may have declined in recent years, it was reported on Thursday.

A recent survey by the Norman Lear Center at University of Southern California (USC) found that even those who have received earthquake education are not as prepared as they should be, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Quake-prone California has tried to raise awareness of quake dangers by holding an annual drill called the Great California ShakeOut. The first year, in 2008, thousands of participants played out what would happen in the event that a magnitude 7.8 quake struck along the San Andreas fault.

But the USC survey found that the majority of those participants still were not fully prepared for a quake and many have had inaccurate or out-of-date information about what to do in the event of a major temblor, the report said.

Experts warn that a major quake, nicknamed the Big One, would strike California any time in 20 to 30 years.

But experts doubt that residents of this region are any better prepared for the inevitable Big One, the report said.

California saw a rise in quake awareness and retrofitting after the state recorded a series of major temblors over seven years: Whittier in 1987, Loma Prieta in 1989 and Northridge in 1994.

But there hasn't been a devastating temblor in the state since the Northridge quake, and that might explain the reason for a decline in quake preparedness, said the paper.

Many Southern Californians grew up with information that is now outdated. A suggestion to take cover under a doorway, once fairly common, is now considered applicable only to people in adobe structures, according to experts.

Everyone else should drop, cover and hold on, taking shelter under a sturdy desk or table, and holding on to one of its legs, experts say.

Source: Xinhua
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