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Northridge Earthquake Anniversary: What Have We Learned In 20 Years?

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Northridge, CA -

Personally, I'll take a hurricane or a tornado over an earthquake any day. Just a matter of degrees of disaster. I like the concept of a warning, the chance to prepare for the devastation to come, and last time I checked we can't predict precisely when the next big one is going to come. 

So, warning with earthquakes? Forget it. Yes, they're working on the early warning system, but that might give us just a few seconds, and it' snot yet foolproof.  http://www.eew.caltech.edu/  So, twenty years ago, like everyone else, I remember being jolted awake, and into a terrible reality. I  was  living in Santa Monica in a condo at the time, and ran down the hallway to pull my then young daughter off her bed and cover us up with her mattress. It worked, we were okay but the place was a mess. Had to move out. Santa Monica also got smashed in 1994, many older apartment and condo buildings red-tagged, it was a  very big story not told that well then and almost forgotten about now. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994_Northridge_earthquake )

Today, in 2014, I was in Northridge, at the Northridge Meadows Apartment  building collapse , where 16 people died. Now it's brand new and lovely. I was also at the Northridge Fashion Center's parking garage, which was demolished by the quake, also now sparkling new.  Some 25 billion in damages has basically all been repaired, as it should have been with so much time elapsing.

I got to relive some of that terrible time with photojournalist David Honl, who photographed so much of the broken buildings, the rescues, the aftermath.  We featured a lot of pictures on our five pm and ten pm news, along with David's recollections of working that day. Yes, it was a long time ago, but it doesn't take much to make it seem like it was yesterday .  Our leaders tell us our buildings and bridges and infrastructure was rebuilt even stronger than it was. We're hopefully more prepared.  Good luck, duck, and cover. 

 

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