January 18, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Officials Talk Emergency Preparedness:

In the Hollywood culture of the U.S. – and even more prominent in Southern California – disaster movies can make the real possibility of a catastrophic natural disaster seem like an absurd abstraction. But video feeds of the 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan have given cause for reflection on the very real possibility of a similar California catastrophe.

While Santa Monica prides itself as being a beautiful coastal town, things could turn ugly real quick should a major earthquake strike the Los Angeles basin – especially if the earthquake occurs near or off the shoreline, therefore increasing the risks of a tsunami. Furthermore, with a nuclear power plant just a couple of hours south in San Onofre, it is realistically possible Santa Monicans and Southern Californians alike could face a disaster similar to that of what just happened in northeast Japan.

Accordingly, City officials and first responders urge residents to take all steps to be prepared as best as possible should an earthquake, tsunami, nuclear disaster, or similar event occur in Santa Monica and the surrounding region.

“There is much more that we can do in Santa Monica to prepare ourselves for a regional disaster,” City Manager Rod Gould told the Mirror. “In Santa Monica, it’s pretty easy to say that the number-one risk is major earthquake, that’s not a surprise. The number-two threat is probably … tsunami. That becomes more credible after the effects of the other day (in Japan).”

In terms of what local residents can do on a basic level, at the very least people should have a preparedness kit to provide supplies for car, home, and work, including medication for infants, children, and pets, said Paul Weinberg, the emergency services coordinator of the City’s Fire Department.

Additionally, Weinberg recommended creating and sticking to a disaster plan of how to be in contact with concerned ones. For example, families should establish a meeting place plan or predefined reunification site in the event emergency strikes during business and school hours and everyone may be separated from each other.

Also, Weinberg suggested sending text messages to concerned individuals post-disaster, especially if the contact is out of state, as opposed to establishing a phone connection.

Maintaining a hard copy of key phone numbers is also critical, Weinberg added.

Both Gould and Weinberg stressed the first responders and key government entities would likely be short staffed and may not be able to respond quickly to everyone’s needs or emergencies in a timely manner.

“The resources we have in town in the event of a major disaster are going to be stretched. We’re going to rely on the community… to help out and put this city back together,” Weinberg told the Mirror. “That initial 12 to 24 hours, we are going to be on our own. As a community we’ll be on our own, as individuals we need to assume we are going to be on our own (so we need to) take the initiative now to be prepared to have seven days food and water, to have the training.”

Even before the Japan earthquake, Gould planned to approach the City Council about doing what it can to ensure Santa Monica is as prepared as possible should an event remotely similar occur in the City and surrounding areas.

“What I am worried about… and what I will be talking to Council at budget time about is strengthening our ability to deal with a regional disaster,” Gould said. “This is an event that is so large, that it removes the possibility of outside help for up to 72 hours. The disaster is such that all available resources in the region are used and you are forced to rely on the people you have on staff right at that moment, and your townspeople who have been properly trained.”

He added, while it is impossible to fully prepare for a major catastrophe of any sort, considering as many options as possible is a worthy exercise.

“We need to begin to tune up for the major events and scenarios that we see as possible, whether it’s earthquake, flooding from a tsunami, whether it’s a major hazmat spill, whether it’s a manmade disaster of some sort,” Gould said. “We’ve got to work through those scenarios and figure out what we would do.”

Gould also said Southern California has made progress since 1994, when the Northridge earthquake rattled Santa Monica and the entire region. However, in the face of such progress, Gould said avoiding complacency is key.

“The building codes are much improved. We’ve improved the emergency communications systems. Protocols are better than what we had in 1994. That said I still believe there is much more that we need to be doing in Santa Monica,” he said. “Too much of our emergency preparedness in Santa Monica is localized in the fire department. We need to expand it to all of the departments.”

Weinstein echoed similar sentiments, telling the Mirror while the city of Los Angeles and other nearby locales would normally contribute its emergency services during a localized event, a major earthquake would significantly alter and delay outside support.

“We can assume in a major earthquake in the L.A. region, L.A. Fire is going to be busy with their own commitments, and we’re going to have to make due with the resources that we have here,” he said.

Gould said there is ultimately no way to be perfectly prepared for such an epic catastrophe as Japan has endured.

“There is no city in the world that is prepared for a catastrophe of the level of what is happening in Japan this past week,” Gould said. “What happened in Japan is so extreme. You can pretend that you have enough people, that you’ve drilled enough, have the right equipment, have the right communication protocols, and so forth, but something that big you cannot prepare for.”

in News
Related Posts

Video: 25K New Housing Units in LA?

January 17, 2021

January 17, 2021

With a massive spike in homelessness forecasted, LA lawmakers want to build 25,000 new housing units. Learn more in this...

Edify TV: Overhaul for Canyon Property?

January 15, 2021

January 15, 2021

A unique Santa Monica Canyon property may be getting an overhaul. Learn more in this video made possible by School...

Edify TV: The Westside’s Best Pies

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Here are some of the best pies on the Westside ahead of National Pie Day on January 23. Learn more...

City Council Votes Mayor Himmelrich And Team To Keep Council Positions: Santa Monica Beat – January, 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * City Council Votes Mayor Himmelrich And Team To Keep Council Positions...

65-Year-Old Santa Monica Bakery on Verge of Shutting Down

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Westside Food Scene January 14, 2021 By Kerry Slater 65-Year-Old Santa Monica Bakery on Verge of Shutting Down  A beloved...

Food Review: The Westside’s Insanely Delicious Tijuana Tacos

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Tacos 1986 in Westwood Village stands out amid a crowded taco scene By Kerry Slater In a city filled with...

Santa Monica Pier Closed for Five Days in a Row

January 13, 2021

January 13, 2021

City cites warm weather forecasted for Santa Monica By Sam Catanzaro With temperatures reaching the 80s expected, city officials are...

Edify TV: Westside Kids Compete to Keep Beach Clean

January 12, 2021

January 12, 2021

Westside kids are competing to keep the beach clean! Learn more in this video made possible by Santa Monica College.

Santa Monica Fire Department Rolls Out Vaccinations

January 12, 2021

January 12, 2021

SMFD helps with rollout across county  By Chad Winthrop Beginning this month , Santa Monica Fire Department firefighters and paramedics...

SMC and MLK Westside Coalition’s 36th Annual Celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 12, 2021

January 12, 2021

Mon, Jan 18, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM Online Only at 9am on Jan. 18th – Visit: MLKjrWestside.org  The Rev. Dr....

Assemblymember Richard Bloom Announces Intention to Run for L.A. County Supervisor

January 11, 2021

January 11, 2021

State rep. looking to replace Sheila Kuehl in 2022 By Sam Catanzaro With incumbent Supervisor Sheila Kuehl signaling she won’t...

Man Jumps to Death at Santa Monica Place

January 11, 2021

January 11, 2021

Man jumps off parking structure in Monday suicide  By Sam Catanzaro A man died by suicide Monday after jumping off...

Santa Monica City Resumes Preferential Parking Restrictions: Santa Monica Beat – January, 11, 2021

January 11, 2021

January 11, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Santa Monica City Resumes Preferential Parking Restrictions * La County Approves...

Edify TV: Santa Monica Pier Shut Down Weekends

January 11, 2021

January 11, 2021

Santa Monica Pier has been shut down on weekends temporarily as COVID-19 cases rise in Los Angeles. Learn more in this...