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The earthquake caught many Southland residents unprepared for a disaster of such magnitude and saw people respond with outdated notions on how to remain safe immediately following an earthquake.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: