Wildcat News

Earthquake threat looms

Julie Han, Opinion Editor

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Central Mexico remains in the status of recovery from the 7.1 earthquake which hit last month. The collapse of an elementary school in Mexico City left 30 children missing, and only the debris of 22 bodies remained. The destruction to infrastructures leaves students concerned of how prepared their schools are for the next Californian earthquake. News has circulated regarding the potential of an 8.2 magnitude earthquake striking Southern California within the next decades. The earthquake’s focal points will run along the San Andreas Fault, which travels from Monterey Country to Los Angeles County. The fault would lie only 30 miles away from Downtown Los Angeles. According to the LA Times, scientists predict that an earthquake on the San Andreas fault would produce more shaking than the events that occurred in Mexico and Northridge. Some predictions of the effects of this major earthquake include over 1000 deaths from the cause of fires, collapse of buildings, and public transportation accidents, with Los Angeles possibly holding the largest death toll. With these projections, Los Angeles students, families, and administrators should be prepared in various methods and undergo several readiness procedures. Preparation is key to survive any type of disaster. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the US Department of Homeland Security states that schools must check with their local building-regulatory agency to be aware of the extent in which their buildings follow codes containing seismic design provisions. Katie Hong, the assistant principal in charge of overseeing the earthquake drills, gave an insight regarding how prepared Uni is in the case of an earthquake. “I did [check for seismic regulations on] October 16th with Ms. Espinoza and Mr. Rodriguez, the plant manager. We checked the water, which is good for 3 years, supplies, and all information,” says Hong. Students and staff must also undergo conditioning for what to do during an earthquake by executing periodic school earthquake drills throughout the year. According to a student survey of 100 students conducted by the Wildcat, 96 percent reported that they knew what to do during an earthquake. On Oct. 19, Uni participated in a nationwide earthquake drill called the Great Shakeout. “I think the earthquake drill was relatively successful, as it taught us what to do during an earthquake which is what the drill is supposed to do. However, I think that in general earthquake drills are not taken very seriously, and people mess around a lot when they should be doing their best to react how they would in a real emergency,” says Junior Aaron Rovinsky. While students and staff went through the procedures of the drill, data gathered by The Wildcat suggests that students need overwhelmingly more practice to know what to do in the event of an earthquake.  After the drill, around 30 percent of students reported that they still do not know where to go after an earthquake. Defining the exact location and time of the next earthquake is difficult, but with education and planning, all students and staff can be prepared for the next natural disaster. 

The potential 8.3 magnitude earthquake along the San Andreas fault threatens to produce significant destruction to major counties such as San Bernardino, Orange County, and Los Angeles.
Photo Courtesy of USGS

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Earthquake threat looms