By Marina Andalon

Living in Southern California we are vulnerable to a wide range of threats like earthquakes. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, “The San Andreas Fault runs more than 800 miles along California and scientist say it is long overdue for an eruption.”

Santa Monica urges the community the take active steps to be prepared for the next earthquake and the City has some experience. In 1994 Santa Monica took a punch when the Northridge earthquake hit, power was knocked out and more than 1,600 housing units were damaged.

Santa Monica offers training to be part of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). CERT is a community-based group of volunteers that have completed a federally recognized training course taught by local Public Safety Personnel and First Responders. The program details way to help families, friends, and neighbors of the community. The program is open to anyone 18 and over who either lives or works in Santa Monica.

“The program started back in 2012 and consists of three days of six hour sessions of training. So far the city has trained an estimated 400 people,” said Paul Weinberg, Emergency Services Administrator.

This program is to benefit the city because of the multiple trainees ready and will have the knowledge of what actions are necessary when disaster hits.

This past Thursday over 10 million people participated in the Great California Shakeout, and Santa Monica’s students were practicing the “stop, drop, and cover” strategy.

“Since the Long Beach earthquake in 1933 when every building in Santa Monica School District was damaged, the Santa Monica- Malibu Unified School District has been a leader in earthquake preparedness,” said Gail Pinsker, Public Information Officer of SMMUSD. “The safety of students and staff is our top priority, and now our buildings are up to code and with every improvement and new construction they are designed and constructed to the current code.”

OEM has partnered with local businesses and organizations to advise plans and proper actions to take when natural disaster hits. They encourage everyone to be prepared and the best way to do that is to follow three simple steps. First assemble a kit, allowing yourself enough essential items such as water, food, medications and whatever is necessary for your family for seven days. Second is to make a plan with family or business organization consisting of important contact information and meeting place locations.

“The phone lines will probably be down after the earthquake hits so the best way to communicate with family and friends is through social media or texting,” said Weinberg. Lastly always stay informed by signing up for the SMalerts app.

OEM has not yet posted the latest dates to participate in the CERT training. Best way to stay updated is through the website.

It is never too early to prepare for an earthquake.