Los Angeles Prepares for its Next Major Earthquake

Dr. Lucy Jones advises the city known for seismic activity on how to avert economic disaster when a natural disaster inevitably strikes.

1 minute read

November 21, 2014, 7:00 AM PST

By Molly M. Strauss @mmstrauss

Experts agree that Los Angeles is overdue for a sizable earthquake, with significant faults crossing the metropolitan area. To improve the city of Los Angeles' earthquake preparedness, Mayor Eric Garcetti has brought in the U.S. Geological Survey's world-renowned Dr. Lucy Jones to create a resiliency report as the city's Science Advisor for Seismic Safety.

In anticipation of this document's release, Jones spoke with The Planning Report to describe its scope and purpose. She explained the particular risks facing the city in the event of a quake—from broken aqueducts, to compromised gas lines, to collapsing building stock. However, Jones emphasized that preventing detrimental economic repercussions will be the biggest challenge:

"We are doing this to protect the economic viability of the city and region. That’s what’s really at stake in a big earthquake—not so much lives lost. You’re far more likely to die in a traffic accident in Los Angeles than in an earthquake... Take the issues around water. We’re not going to keep water in every house at all times, no matter the earthquake’s damage. But we need to get water back quickly enough that people won’t leave because they haven’t had a shower in a month. Keeping recovery on track is necessary so that you don’t lose the goodwill of your people."

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