Mayor Garcetti underscores urgency of earthquake preparedness for Angelenos, emphasizes importance of citywide resilience

LOS ANGELES — To mark the 10th anniversary of the Great ShakeOut, Mayor Eric Garcetti today stressed the importance of earthquake preparedness and highlighted ongoing work to make the City of Los Angeles stronger and safer.

“Angelenos know the next big earthquake is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when,’ — that is why we are taking action today to ensure we survive tomorrow’s seismic shocks,” said Mayor Garcetti. “From retrofitting our most vulnerable buildings to delivering earthquake early warning to Angelenos, we are committed to making Los Angeles an epicenter of seismic resilience and safety.”

Since taking office in 2013, Mayor Garcetti has made earthquake preparedness and citywide resilience a top priority. In 2014, the Mayor released “Resilience by Design” — a report addressing Los Angeles’ earthquake vulnerabilities and steps to fortify our buildings and secure our water supply and communications infrastructure.

In response to the findings in Resilience by Design, in 2015 Mayor Garcetti signed an historic mandatory building retrofit ordinance to ensure L.A.’s most vulnerable structures are strengthened to prevent loss of life in the event of a major earthquake. To date, more than 1,000 soft-story retrofits have been completed, 6,700 have submitted plans for retrofits, and 2,800 have received permits.

Earlier this year, Mayor Garcetti released “Resilient Los Angeles,” the first citywide resilience strategy featuring actions for Angelenos to take in advance of inevitable shocks and stresses — from earthquakes and flooding to climate change. The Mayor also signed Executive Directive #22 which commits City departments to appoint Departmental Chief Resilience Officers.

As part of this year’s ShakeOut, Mayor Garcetti joined a press conference at Los Angeles City Hall, where he discussed the importance of earthquake preparation — from developing readiness plans with family and neighbors to putting together emergency kits. City Hall was selected as the home for this year’s ShakeOut as it is the first public building in Los Angeles to be equipped with earthquake early warning.

At 10:18AM, the City Hall earthquake early warning system sent out a test alarm calling on building occupants to drop, cover, and hold on. The earthquake early warning pilot program, known as ShakeAlert, was made possible through a partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Early Warning Labs.

Mayor Garcetti is working with the City’s Information Technology Agency (ITA), Emergency Management Department (EMD), USGS and AT&T to get ShakeAlert to Angelenos via smartphones by the end of 2018 — a tool which can provide people with precious seconds to find safety ahead of an earthquake.   

Los Angeles will continue actively planning and preparing for “The Big One,” and Angelenos are encouraged to review preparedness tips, stay informed about what the City is doing to preserve life and property, and sign up to receive free emergency alerts on their phones by texting “ready” to 888-777.