|Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne joined California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, U.S. Geological Survey Director Mark Myers and more than 5 million Californians in The Great Southern California Shakeout, the largest earthquake preparedness drill in U.S. history.Hi-Res|
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne joined California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, U.S. Geological Survey Director Mark Myers and more than 5 million Californians in participating in The Great Southern California Shakeout, the largest earthquake preparedness drill in U.S. history, on November 13, 2008.
"This is one of the most impressive and effective exercises that has ever taken place anywhere in the world," Kempthorne said at the Holy Cross Triage Center in Mission Hills. "I say ‘exercise’ but keep in mind that the scientists would tell you it is not a question of ‘if,’ it is a question of ‘when’ a major earthquake will hit."
When the fictional 'earthquake' started at 10 a.m., the Secretary was in a
classroom with students at Stevenson Elementary School in Burbank. He participated
in the “Drop, Cover, and Hold On,” evacuation and triage.
The USGS, an agency of the Department of the Interior, led a multi-disciplinary team of more than 300 experts from academia and industry, public and private sectors to develop the ShakeOut Scenario and communicate it to emergency managers and the general public.
The scenario depicts a magnitude 7.8 earthquake striking the Southern San Andreas Fault, starting at the Salton Sea and rupturing northward 190 miles. Kempthorne described the scenario in giving the keynote address at the Los Angeles International Earthquake Conference dinner Thursday evening.
"Think about it: 1,800 dead…53,000 injured…1,500 buildings collapsed…$213 billion in damage…thousands of fires burning out of control…two thirds of the hospital beds lost…water cut off, perhaps for months…no electricity….bridges and rail lines destroyed…telephones and other communication shut down…tens of thousands of people wandering the streets with no place to go….all needing to be housed and fed. A catastrophe that dwarfs any other kind of natural disaster," Secretary Kempthorne told conferees.
The USGS scenario represents the most comprehensive analysis ever of what a major Southern California earthquake would mean. (See www.usgs.gov/shakeout and http://www.usgs.gov/homepage/science_features/shakeout.asp.)