Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

L.A. Fire Department to respond to simulated 8.0 earthquake

April 19, 2010 |  8:29 am

With so many earthquakes rocking the world in recent months, the Los Angeles Fire Department wants to test its preparedness Monday by simulating a Big One right here in our own backyard, officials said.

Firefighters and search-and-rescue teams will be evaluated on how well they respond to a make-believe magnitude-8.0 earthquake. A "disaster village" has been set up at a fire station in Sherman Oaks, complete with bodies buried under freeways and hazardous-material spills.

“With earthquakes in Mexico, Chili, Haiti and China, Mother Nature has certainly given us wake-up calls again and again," said Capt. Stephen Ruda of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Chief Millage Peaks "wants to be sure his department is ready to go.”

The last time a quake as strong as the one being simulated hit the Los Angeles area was in 1857, when the region was much less populated. That makes it more important for residents to learn about earthquake preparedness, Ruda said, instead of relying solely on emergency and rescue personnel.

“We are challenging the community to be prepared, wherever you live in L.A.,” he said. “During a catastrophic earthquake, there may be no help coming to you within 72 hours.”

-- Ching-Ching Ni

Photo: Los Angeles City firefighter Brian Buehler, left, and Paul Schori from Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 88 work to free volunteer victim Ruth Cole from a structure collapse Monday during a full-scale functional exercise of a response to an 8.0 magnitude earthquake at Los Angeles Fire Department station 88 in Sherman Oaks. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times