The State of California has signed an emergency operations plan with the U.S. Government in preparation for a 7.8 Los Angeles area earthquake. The agreement was signed in December 2010.
The Southern California Catastrophic Earthquake Plan (CATPLAN) involved more than 1,500 emergency officials working on the response and management plan which affects tens of millions of Southern Californians.
The new, large-scale state and federal joint operation plan outlines the widespread deployment of resources after the next major quake on the southern San Andreas Fault.
The multi-agency cooperative plan addresses real issues and real consequences in a real catastrophe:
- Massive civilian casualties
- Immediate public shelter needs
- Grand-scale housing requirements
- Infrastructure failure and calamity
- Unprecedented economic disruption
- Continuity of government
"We know that it's not a matter of 'if,' but 'when' the next big earthquake is going to shake California to its core," warned then Cal EMA Secretary Matthew Bettenhausen in 2011.
"Our number one priority is to ensure we're doing everything we can to be ready for it, and have a carefully-crafted, comprehensive plan in place to enable maximum coordination between federal, state and local agencies."
The agreement signing ceremony was a grim yet necessary event, according to officials. Many emergency managers and qualified emergency experts worked long and hard to put the massive earthquake plan together.
A major Southern California earthquake would overwhelm local authorities who, themselves, may be lucky to survive the initial temblor and countless aftershocks.
California's new federal agreement for assistance utilizes the full resources of the U.S. government, its agencies and resources when the inevitable major earthquake strikes Southern California.
Both California and federal authorities are urging Southern California area residents to have an individual and/or family emergency plan in place immediately.