Santa Monica’s coastal town sits on the Pacific Ocean, about 40 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. The town is best known for its pier, which features an amusement park, arcade and many tasty restaurants. Like most cities and towns in Southern California, it has experienced its share of earthquakes. In 2017, the city launched its own earthquake remodeling plan in Santa Monica with some of the strictest rules anywhere.
Southern California is seeing earthquakes nearly every day. Yet almost all of them are so low that no one feels them, and they don’t register on the Richter scale. The most recent quake felt in El Segundo was only a 1.6 magnitude quake and, luckily, the strongest quake in the Santa Monica area this year was only a 2.7. But most geologists and long-time residents know it’s just a matter of time before the Big One hits.
Which degree does the Big One classify?
Earthquakes are measured in the Richter scale developed by Charles F. Richter in 1935. The scale is used to measure the amplitude of waves reported by the seismographs. This calculation decides the magnitude of the earthquake. The scale uses numbers from 1 to 10.
A mild quake comes on a scale of 3 and 3.9. They can be sensed, but they typically do no real damage. Moderate quakes are considered to be 5 to 5.9, and quakes in this range can damage property and even humans. The largest earthquake this year was the one that hit Ridgecrest on the 4th and 5th of July. The first earthquake was 6.4, followed by 7.1 hours later.
Most experts agree that an 8.0 or greater earthquake would be known as the “Big One.” The 1994 Northridge Earthquake was only 6.7, but it was one of the strongest in urban areas. It caused millions of dollars in damage, including the collapse of bridges and the loss of buildings. Had the 7.1 earthquake that struck Ridgecrest in July been closer to a populous city, the damage would have been severe.
How possible it is that Santa Monica will be struck by a major earthquake Santa Monica is located on, or very close to, a number of faults capable of causing an 8.0 or higher earthquake. Santa Monica’s fault runs right underneath the city all the way to West Hollywood. Modern technology has allowed the U.S. Geological Survey to detect and map modern fault lines that were previously unknown.
Previously, Santa Monica’s fault was thought to be only long enough to cause a 7.0 earthquake. But the new maps made this year have shown that the fault stretches miles further than previously thought. It is probable that this fault will give rise to an earthquake as high as 7.3 or 7.5. The earthquake of this magnitude could quickly demolish much of the city’s infrastructure and cause irreparable damage to office and apartment buildings. Such new fault findings have made it more important than ever for the seismic retrofit in Santa Monica to be completed as soon as possible.
Earthquake retrofitting in Santa Monica doesn’t happen quickly enough The earthquake of 1994 destroyed more than 500 properties in Santa Monica. Nearly two-thirds of the city had been designated a “earthquake restoration zone” by city officials. Until July 2019, however, 80 per cent of property owners had not even had their properties checked. Despite Santa Monica having some of the hardest seismic retrofitting orders, all of these owners are now in non-compliance.
The deadline for the inspection reports to be filed with the city has come and gone, it was September. Notices of non-compliance have been released and some reports have already been referred to the Code Enforcement Agency. With the back-to-back quakes in July, it would seem that property owners should stop dragging their feet and launch the retrofits.
At 12:15 a.m., on October 18, a 3.7 earthquake struck the city of Compton. Although this quake was not strong enough to cause any real damage, it was felt from the center all the way to Santa Monica and down to the north of San Diego. It’s just a matter of time until another major earthquake hits the city. That’s why the city is working more closely with local agencies and business owners.
Emergency Operations Center The EOC is an up-to-date central command center that works 24/7 in the region. The aim is for the center to be the focal point for large-scale emergencies. Drills with first responders and city staff are conducted throughout the year to assess response times and effectiveness.
Another such drill is the Great Shake Out. Once a year, the OEC is conducting an exercise to simulate how the city will respond to a major seismic event. The simulation discusses how personnel and first responders can organize their activities both during and after the earthquake. Some of the agencies involved are the American Red Cross and the Santa Monica School District.
Santa Monica Disaster Effective Organizations SMOAID was founded in 2018. The group was formed by local non-profit members, community organizations, and business owners. They work together to prepare their communities for the catastrophe, and all of them have made vows to be available to help in the wake of the disaster. We meet regularly for emergency preparations and drills that help strengthen and coordinate the city’s response and recovery activities.
What you can do to be prepared One of the first things you should do is arrange an inspection of your house. The best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, your staff and tenants is to see if your building needs to be retrofitted in order to comply with Santa Monica’s orders. While the retrofit will not make your house earthquake-proof, it will make it more durable that could save you money in maintenance or even your life.
The next thing you’re expected to do is make sure you’ve got an emergency kit. Here’s a list of things that you want to make sure you include: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food that your family actually consumes.
One gallon of water per person per pet for seven days.
A torch AM / FM radio Spare batteries First aid kit Cash on hand in various denominations Medications Eyeglasses Vital papers Child needs & pet supplies for everyone Change of clothing and durable shoes Sleeping bags Make an emergency plan. The strategy should include emergency exits, how to interact with household members, and a meeting place if you are split. It’s also a good idea to know your plans for the workplace and your child’s school plans. Make sure to note any hazards in the area, such as trees and power poles that may fall during an earthquake.
Stay up to date. Technology has made it possible to be warned of a natural disaster in advance. You can go to smalerts.net to set up an account. You will receive text, emails, or phone calls that will direct you on what to do in the event of an emergency.
The U.S. Geological Survey has partnered with AT&T and the Annenberg Foundation to establish ShakeAlertLA. The app was launched on 31 December 2018 and can be downloaded from all iPhone and Android devices. ShakeAlertLA will give you a warning just a few seconds before the earthquake is about to strike.
Although seconds don’t sound like a lot of time, they’re more than you think. In just a few seconds, you can switch to a safer place in your home or office that could prevent serious injury or even death. This alarm could give you time to pull off the side of the road, exit the elevator, or just drop, cover and hold on. With all the advances in technology, every day, other applications similar to this one are likely to be created as well.
Weinstein Construction is one of the largest earthquake retrofitting firms in Santa Monica. Today, you can call us to schedule a free inspection. One of our qualified engineers will visit your property and conduct a thorough assessment of the risks your home or building that face in the event of an earthquake. After our review, we will prepare a detailed report along with some of the remodeling options that will help you.
Our workers have been professionally trained and we are working hard to make the construction process as simple as possible. All of our solutions are cost-effective and will comply with strict Santa Monica seismic codes. Don’t wait until the next major earthquake occurs. Secure yourself and those you love by calling us today at