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LAT: SoCal "Not Ready for Disaster"

The Los Angeles Times has a six-screener about disaster preparedness or lack of same in southern California. Feel free to provide the most scary facts in comments. Here's one from the first screen:

Detailed plans to deal with a massive emergency - one that displaces more than 300,000 people - have not been developed since the end of the Cold War, said Stephen Sellers, head of Southern California operations for the state Office of Emergency Services.

Is anyone ready for a California earthquake?

Oh, great. "California Earthquake Could Be the Next Katrina":

...In Los Angeles, all but one of 8,700 unreinforced masonry buildings - considered the most likely to collapse in a major quake - have been retrofitted or demolished. The state spent billions after the 1994 Northridge quake to retrofit more than 2,100 freeway overpasses, reporting this week that only a handful remain unreinforced.
Despite these improvements, however, officials believe that a major temblor could cause the level of destruction and disruption seen over the last week on the Gulf Coast.
More than 900 hospital buildings that state officials have identified as needing either retrofitting or total replacement have yet to receive them, and the state recently agreed to five-year extensions to hospitals that can't meet the 2008 deadline to make the fixes. More than 7,000 school buildings across the state would also be vulnerable during a huge temblor, a state study found, though there is no firm timetable for upgrading the structures.
And four Los Angeles Police Department facilities - including the Parker Center headquarters in downtown - worry officials, because they were built to primitive earthquake standards and might not survive a major temblor. Only two of the LAPD's 19 stations meet the most rigorous quake-safe rules.
"We could be dealing with infrastructure issues a lot like New Orleans," [Lucy Jones, "scientist-in-charge for the geological survey's Southern California Earthquake Hazards Team"] said. "Our natural gas passes through the Cajon Pass…. Water - three pipelines - cross the San Andreas fault in an area that is expected to go in an earthquake." Railway lines are also vulnerable, she said.
A catastrophic temblor at the right spot along the San Andreas could significantly reduce energy and water supplies - at least temporarily, she and others said. Researchers at the Southern California Earthquake Center said there is an 80% to 90% chance that a temblor of 7.0 or greater magnitude will strike Southern California before 2024.
"We aren't anywhere close to where I wish we were" in terms of seismic safety, Jones said.
Seismologists are particularly concerned about a type of vulnerable building that has received far less attention than unreinforced masonry.
There are about 40,000 structures in California made from "non-ductile reinforced concrete," a rigid substance susceptible to cracking. This was a common construction ingredient for office buildings in the 1950s and '60s, before the state instituted stricter standards. Few such structures have been seismically retrofitted, officials said...

There are two more pages of dire warnings at the link.

Is FEMA ready for a California earthquake?

On Sep. 2, KFI AM 640 Los Angeles hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou conducted an interview with Karen E. Armes, who's the Acting Regional Director for FEMA's Region IX (covering CA, HI, AZ, NV, Guam, and American Samoa).
The audio is linked from here, and this is a direct link.
As with other John and Ken interviews, it didn't go too well. They were a little unfocused, but Armes also didn't really say anything beyond standard bureaucratic responses. From her bio, it doesn't appear that she has a disaster management background.
She says she doesn't anticipate the water being shut off in Los Angeles in case of an earthquake or major disaster. She points to the Northridge earthquake as an example of the water continuing to flow, however, John and Ken point out that a much more devastating quake could occur.
John Kobylt: "the way you're answering these questions is absolutely terrifying... I have zero faith that anyone is going to come and help me and my family or my neighbors or my city out for a week after something happens... I'm hearing bureaucratic gobblygook..."

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