By now, we should have made measurable progress planning for the November 12-16 Great Southern California ShakeOut earthquake drill. Our First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, member of the Governor's Seismic Safety Commission and co-chair of the San Bernardino County ShakeOut campaign, along with assistant David Zook disseminate county reports in Brad Mitzelfelt News.


We're advised that 19,000 San Bernardino County Employees will participate in the drill; the Board of Supervisors was presented an analysis of the magnitude of devastation that is hypothecated in the ShakeOut; and $933,424 is allocated to improve and enhance community and hospital preparedness for public health emergencies. The 933k is a drop in the bucket. It's also targeted for pandemics and chemical decontamination events.


The ShakeOut drill anticipates a break on the San Andreas. That's our fault and it's a big one. We see it and its neighbor the Cleghorn Fault every time we drive through Cajon Pass or along Highway 2 to Wrightwood. When planners tell us the drill will assume that movement on the San Andreas will cut off the High Desert from services down the hill, it means that they are anticipating the day when we are left on our own. The drill will "shake out" flaws in our plans.


This drill may be the only planning we will get. We won't watch the earthquake coming on the weather channel. We'll know it's the real event when the Primary and Secondary waves jerk us around and we'll know it's "The Big One" when FEMA arrives. I've done my share of real-time 'Drop, Cover and Hold On' until things stopped falling down and am motivated to plan ahead. I keep drinking water, fire extinguishers, canned food, first aid kits, flashlights, battery operated radios, and walking shoes at home, at work and in the car that always holds a minimum quarter tank of gasoline.


During the Northridge Quake computers at my Westwood employment flew across the room, books cluttered the floor while bookcases toppled on top of them; interior glass partitions shattered; file cabinet drawers slid open and those that weren't anchored to the floor, fell. Employees living near Santa Clarita couldn't get home because a major freeway bridge on I 14 collapsed. Some folks slept at work for a week waiting for the roads, bridges, and the commuter train rails to be repaired. Santa Monica had no drinking water for days. Most of us spent extra hours commuting because the I 10 was destroyed. And this was not the "Big One."


During the Whittier Quake the cement building I worked in was deemed unsafe. During the Sierra Madre Quake clay tiles flew off my roof and landed in the yard twenty feet from the house. During the Sylmar Quake all businesses in town lost their display windows, the cement stairs to my second story cracked and so much water splashed out of the pool that the water was below the level needed to operate the filter. During the Pasadena quake every other home in my neighborhood lost their chimney. I saw the light standards at Dodger Stadium shake during the Elysian Park Quake. The quake I can no longer remember by name caused the high-rise where I worked in the LA Financial District to sway so much the floor rocked like a boat at sea. These quakes were scary but I knew the people providing community services in the LA basin were trained to deal with major emergencies.


My son was in Mountain View when The Loma Prieta fault shook up northern California. It was the first time he thought the house would come down but the only causalities in his household were the fish that committed suicide by jumping out of the 30 gallon tank as it 'walked' across the room.


Since moving to Hesperia my concern during the Chino Hills Quake was that the earlier movement near Barstow might be a pre-shock and a bigger bump might be coming. When geologists say the magnitude of the 'Big One' will be thousands of times more than Chino Hills, understand that for those of us on the High Desert, the epicenter will be miles closer. We need to know our Ps and S waves.