The 6.7 magnitude earthquake that struck the San Fernando Valley on Jan. 17, 1994 remains one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history. The Red Cross mobilized 15,000 workers, served 1.7 million meals, provided shelter for nearly 22,000 people and provided mental health counseling to more than 40,000 affected Californians.
Tarzana resident Craig Renetzky was among the hundreds of Red Cross volunteers who responded when the quake hit.
“The Northridge earthquake shattered so many lives; it's a day I will never forget,” said Renetzky, one of the on-call disaster officers at that time. “What stands out most in my memory was my relief that I had planned ahead and was properly prepared for such a disaster. It’s one of the reasons I was able to help others. Everyone must be prepared to survive the next big Southern California earthquake.”
In the 27 years since Northridge, the Red Cross and its partners have been working hard to prepare Southern California for the next catastrophic disaster. The Red Cross PrepareSoCal campaign strives to engage community leaders in the most vulnerable neighborhoods across Southern California to bring preparedness education to every household.
Following a major disaster, families should be equipped with enough food, water and emergency supplies to last for two weeks, until outside help can arrive. The Red Cross recommends five basic steps: