Thursday, March 27, 2008

ShakeOut participants

We are asking everyone in SoCal to participate in ShakeOut, and many organizations and people are already joining up. Today, I was very impressed by the level of intensity shown by LADWP, who have just performed a preliminary set of exercises as part of the lead-in to the main ShakeOut event. They are checking their systems and already discussing what can be done to improve. We're hoping that other major utilities will participate at such a high level. The LADWP General Manager came to personally hear the outbriefs on water and power systems, then to guide response efforts and direct recovery in the simulation. I was very pleased at how the exercise went today, and this was an early step of many they will take.

On May 5th, there will be a USGS-OES press conference in Ontario to announce more details of the ShakeOut scenario, and to encourage widespread public participation in the Nov. 13th main event.

On July 16th, LADWP will hold a full-scale exercise based on the ShakeOut scenario, along with a series of related activities to make their systems more robust.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ShakeOut - a simulated Big One on the San Andreas fault

I have worked with colleagues to create a scientifically realistic great San Andreas fault earthquake, that is, a Big One. It has been a major effort, funded by the USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project, to develop a detailed scenario including physical impacts and damages from the surface faulting and shaking caused by the earthquake. On November 13, 2008 quite likely the largest earthquake response exercise ever conducted in the USA will take place based on the ShakeOut earthquake scenario, as we call it. The idea of this is to achieve several things, including raising public awareness of earthquake hazards. Most importantly, I think, is that we will engage people in thinking about vulnerabilities we face as a society. Some of these vulnerabilities are relatively obvious, and yet would cost a lot to retrofit ahead of time. By discussing such issues with responsible organizations, we hope to motivate an even higher level of effort in capital investment in critical infrastructure. We hope to make southern California overall far more resilient, so that a future great earthquake need not be a catastrophe.