The Northridge Earthquake, 20 years later.

Twenty Years Later, Are We Prepared?

It was 20 years ago today (January 17, 1994, at 4:30AM) that our San Fernando Valley was devastated by the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. Ask around and folks in North Hollywood and the rest of the 818 will immediately tell you stories of this horrific day. The magnitude 6.7 quake caused $20 million in damage and affected the lives of millions. But out of that disaster we found strength and rebuilt.

Daily News Northridge Earthquake 
 photo credit: Daily News via

Our Councilman Paul Krekorian’s office sums up the Northridge Earthquake disaster:

“According to the Southern California Earthquake Center, the 10 to 20 seconds of strong shaking from the quake resulted in the damage of 114,000 buildings, the crumbling and closure of major freeway infrastructures, deaths of nearly 60 people, while 22,000 were left homeless and the lives of millions in the city were disrupted.

The road to recovery was long and hard-felt but mitigation efforts following the Northridge Earthquake initiated an increase in the level of geological hazard mapping, the development of new building code standards, seismic retrofitting of older structures to meet revised seismic codes, as well as improved emergency preparedness.”

In memory of the precious lives lost and the damage done to our Valley neighborhoods, we like to take this time to get informed and get prepared. Earthquakes can happen anytime. Learn more about how to prepare at Below are some emergency preparedness tips they suggest. Visit their website to learn how to make your earthquake/emergency kit.

✭ Contact your local emergency management team to learn about your community’s warning signals and how you should respond to them.
✭ Store all emergency contact numbers (fire, police, ambulance, etc.) in a place that all family members know
✭ Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local Emergency Medical Services number
✭ Enroll in First Aid and CPR classes.
✭ Pick two places to meet for emergencies: right outside you home in case of something such as a fire, and outside your neighborhood in case you can’t return home.
✭ Make sure every family member knows the phone number of your out-of-neighborhood meeting place.
✭ Ask an out-of-state friend or relative to be your family contact…know the phone number
✭ Organize your important documents in a place that is easily accessible.
✭ Inventory and, ideally, videotape your valuables.
✭ Install smoke detectors on each level of the home and hallways near bedrooms. Check them each month and replace batteries when necessary
✭ Keep a fire extinguisher in your home and show everyone how to use it.
✭ Replace stored water every three months and stored foods every six months.

Let’s take today to remember the disaster and how we rebuilt. But most importantly, let’s take this 20th anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake to get prepared.

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Lisa Bianconi
Author: Lisa Bianconi

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