Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

October 17, 2009

Preparing for the Big One

Filed under: Preparedness and Response — by Philip J. Palin on October 17, 2009


California’s massive state-wide earthquake drill was, by all accounts, a productive effort to prepare for a past-due catastrophe — in a state with more than its share.

Millions duck and cover (San Jose Mecury News)

This is a test, this is only a test (Los Angeles Times)

Party time for great California shake-out (San Francisco Chronicle)

The image above — of Los Angeles sliding into the Pacific Ocean — does not reflect the latest advancement in conducting realistic emergency exercises.  It is an image from the forthcoming Sony disaster film 2012.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

October 17, 2009 @ 2:42 pm

California is probably the best prepared of the STATES. Unfortunately, I would argue its capability at the state level is less than a decade ago for many reasons including funding and organization. Hoping I can be dissuaded as to that conclusion but perhaps not.
Donald Rumsfeld quote about conducting of war with the army you have not the army you want rang hollow when he had helped decide to conduct a war. But the quote is apt when it comes to Emergency Preparedness and the totality of capability. Interestingly, not one, REPEAT NOT ONE, federal, state, or local emergency operations plan has provisions for surge capability and most fail to have a planning basis adequate to allow a surge capacity. Again hoping I can be dissuaded from that conclusion by someone, somewhere, but Mother Nature won’t be fooled. Nor does She give make up exams.

Comment by William R. Cumming

October 18, 2009 @ 8:52 am

Probably should have reminded readers that last week was the 20th anniversary of the so-called “World Series” earthquake, Loma Prieta, that called a world series game when Candlestick Park lost power. The interesting thing is that emergency power stayed on but later inspection of the emergency batteries showed that while elevated and on tables they were mere inches from falling off and there would have been I suspect a total blackout and pandemonium in the standium. Of course other severe damages also. But speaking of resilience, taking a small flashlight to mass attendance events occurring during hours of darkness or in your hotel luggage a great idea.

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