California Needs New Laws to Boost Earthquake Safety, Assemblyman Says

(TNS) -- A Los Angeles lawmaker says California needs new statewide laws that boost earthquake safety, and wants to toughen rules on how strong new buildings should be and require cities to identify buildings at risk of collapse.

Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian (D-North Hollywood) said the bills are important for keeping California functioning after a major earthquake.

Irma Caused 129 Deaths, More Than $53 Billion in Damages, Hurricane Center Concludes

(TNS) - After six months of chasing down and documenting the death and destruction Hurricane Irma left behind from the eastern Caribbean to the Carolinas, the National Hurricane Center released its report on Monday.

It underscores the wide swath of damage left behind by the massive storm, which brought wind and storm surge to much of Florida last September.

At least 129 deaths are attributed to the storm, either directly or indirectly. Irma's powerful storm surge, seas, winds and flooding were directly responsible for 44 deaths, concluded the team of three hurricane specialists who wrote the report, John Cangialosi, Andrew Latto and Robbie Berg. At least another 85 deaths were indirectly related to the storm.

California Fire Officials Request $100 Million to Fix Mutual-Aid System

(TNS) - California fire officials asked lawmakers Tuesday for $100 million to improve the state’s strained mutual-aid system, which is designed to quickly rally first responders in an emergency, such as the deadly fires that ravaged the North Bay last year.

At a legislative hearing in Sacramento, fire chiefs and emergency officials said wildfires across the state last year exposed shortcomings in the 60-year-old system.

As a High-Tech Quake Alert System Takes Shape, There’s a Lower-Tech Way to Save Lives

Friday’s magnitude 7.2 earthquake in the Mexican state of Oaxaca was another opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of an earthquake early-warning system, which in some seismic events, can send an alert ahead to cities before damaging waves can reach them. That means that in a place like Mexico City, which is built atop the weak soils of a former lakebed, people there had an approximately 1-minute warning to move outdoors and away from buildings or take shelter in a sturdy location before the shaking started.

Does Effective Emergency Preparedness Need to Start with Local Businesses?

When a major storm rolls into an area, there are often numerous citizens who believe the storm will be dangerous. Then there’s the second camp — the more dangerous camp — who may not believe the storm will be all that intense and do not effectively prepare themselves for the storm.

For emergency managers, people who are unprepared for emergencies creates a number of problems. For instance, lack of citizen preparation creates dangerous situations for public safety employees.

These local residents may not believe they need to prepare, because they think that they will still have access to numerous resources during a disaster. Social scientists often pinpoint this type of behavior to determine whether there is a behavior pattern that can be altered.

Emergency managers have long posited that more education helps individuals to know how they can effectively prepare for a disaster. But education often only goes so far — it does not take away the need for disaster preparation.

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