LOS ANGELES, Feb. 4, 2021 — 50 years ago the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region sheltered 17,000 people and assisted 11,000 families following the catastrophic 1971 San Fernando earthquake (Sylmar earthquake). On this somber anniversary, the Red Cross urges Angelenos to take the necessary steps to prepare their households for the next Big One.
Photos by the Los Angeles Times
The 6.6 jolt on Feb. 9, 1971 was the first major earthquake to hit Los Angeles in 80 years and left thousands of residents without water, power or gas for weeks. The earthquake caught many Southland residents unprepared for a disaster of such magnitude and saw people respond with outdated notions on how to remain safe immediately following an earthquake.
“I was only seven years old when the Sylmar quake hit, but I remember every frightening detail of that morning,” said Mimi Teller Rosicky, Red Cross LA disaster volunteer. “In retrospect, my family did everything wrong – between standing in doorways then running outside barefoot, we were lucky our lack of knowledge didn’t harm us.”
Through its PrepareSoCal campaign, the Red Cross and partners strive to engage community leaders in the most vulnerable Southern California neighborhoods to bring preparedness education to every household. The goal is for all Los Angeles residents to 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:
Additionally, you can take the ‘I’m Ready.’ quiz to see if you're ready for disasters by visiting preparesocal.org. This self-evaluation will help you determine if you've taken all the five steps recommended by the Red Cross in order to be ready for earthquakes, home fires and wildfires.
During an earthquake, do not try to move around. Drop, Cover and Hold On. Try to protect your head and torso. If you are sitting at a desk or table, get under it. Otherwise drop wherever you are.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/la or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossLA or @CruzRojaLA.