Experts to Gather for Workshop on Surviving the Big One (And Its Aftermath)

Published : Friday, March 29, 2019 | 5:45 AM

At center of photo, Margaret Vinci, member of Caltech’s seismological lab staff and manager of its earthquake program, with Ken Kondo, Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management. Courtesy photo.

It’s not “if,” but “when.”

There’s an earthquake coming and a March 30 workshop convened by a consortium of public and private outfits will provide a soup-to-nuts how-to on being prepared when it does.

“‘You can be the hero,”’ is our theme,” said Ken Kondo, Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management (OEM). “When you see an international disaster it’s always somebody who’s right there that can provide the CPR or the first-aid. It’s neighbor helping neighbor.”

How to Survive the Big One and Its Aftermath involves the efforts and messages of Kondo’s agency, Caltech Seismology Laboratory, California Department of Insurance, Pasadena Fire Department, and Amstrong-Walker Landscaping.

It is anticipated Mayor Terry Tornek and Rep. Judy Chu (D) will be addressing the workshop, according to Kondo.

Also on hand will be blank copies of the county’s Emergency Survival Guide, according to Kondo, who is OEM’s spokesman and emergency manager. “We call this your fill-in-the-blank disaster plan,” said Kondo, “and if you come to this event, we’ll help you and by the time your done, you’ll have a family emergency plan.”

It contents, he said, will include emergency contact information, the location of major utilities, and escape routes out of the neighborhood, to name a few.

If you don’t go to the workshop, there are few things the Office of Emergency Management would like you to know.

First, have an actual plan that anticipates downed power lines, blocked roads, closed food stores, fires, and damaged buildings. Kondo noted that such problems occurred during the high winds that struck the San Gabriel Valley in 2011.

There are disasters other than earthquakes and these will be addressed at the workshop, especially since preparing for one type can be quite similar to preparing for a different kind.

That disaster plan OEM wants you to plot should include a communication plan between family members that accounts for the fact people can be in school and at work, rather than home, when disaster strikes. There should also be an out-of-state dedicated contact that can be informed of conditions in the disaster area and what your needs are.

Secondly, stock up on supplies, and plenty of them.

“You have to have your disaster supplies, not just for a couple of hours, but for weeks where you may be sheltering or trapped because of the earthquake,” Kondo advised.

And, of course, you should have a first aid kit: bandages, antiseptic, extra pairs of glasses for those who wear them.

Third is staying connected. Follow your favorite media sources. Power may be out. The importance of batteries becomes magnified in such situations, he noted.

Different types of batteries need to be stored to power different types of devices. “During the Woolsey fire it was radio that provided the best communication.” He noted that, in addition to battery-powered radios, there are solar powered and hand-crank models available as well.

“Always keep your communications lines open including new technology/mobile devices, Internet, social media, traditional television stations and the National Weather Service,” said Kondo.

Old school technology like pads and pens may be all that works, so have them, too.

Fourth, come to the workshop, get training and stay involved going forward. “We need you to become that preparedness ambassador who can share the information what your family members, neighbors, coworkers,” he said.

Kondo will be joined by Margaret Vinci, a member of Caltech’s seismological lab staff and manager of its earthquake program. She will talk about earthquake mitigation including the California Earthquake Authority’s “Brace and Bolt” program.

To thrive in a post-disaster recovery, Kondo said good documentation of what you had and lost is crucial to Federal Emergency Management Administration claims and others.

“You want to document everything,” he explained. “The carpet, the refrigerator, the stove, bookcases, you should document everything with photographs and an itemized list.”

Sally Kim Westlake from the state Department of Insurance will address this and other matters. She is an associate insurance compliance officer in the department’s Consumer Education and Outreach Bureau.

Pasadena Fire Department Battalion Chief Wendell Eaton will also speak. Eaton manages the Fire Prevention Bureau and is an expert when it comes to determining how fires are started.

Anna Armstrong is the Armstrong in the aforementioned Armstrong-Walker Landscaping. She is a landscape architect with knowledge about a wide range of plant materials and will round out the speakers’ card. .

The event will be held at Pasadena City College, Creveling Lounge from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. RSVP to info@collpas.org or (626) 529-8095. For more information on the County of Los Angeles Emergency Survival Guide, https://lacounty.gov/emergency. Follow the Office of Emergency Management on Twitter at @ReadyLACounty

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