Quake planning is front and center on ‘Shakeout’ day

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It’s the big one. The big rehearsal, that is. More than 10 million Golden Staters were expected to take part in today’s Great California Shakeout – a massive earthquake preparedness drill.

The exercise comes as Cal Tech seismologist and L.A. quake tsar Lucy Jones warns that a high-magnitude temblor in the L.A. area could cause not only loss of life, but potential economic collapse, water shortages, fires and severed communication lines. Grim stuff. Jones and others say having a disaster plan in place is crucial – but a new poll finds that fewer than half of us, 44 percent, have one.

The City and County of L.A. both offer disaster preparedness tips.

Meanwhile, the city’s building department is now recommending that the City Council require the owners of thousands of wood-framed apartment buildings to strengthen those structures.faultmapThe move comes as city officials conduct an inventory of so-called “soft story” apartments in the city.

That survey won’t be complete until January, but Department of Building and Safety chief Raymond Chan says the mandatory retrofitting is necessary to prevent deaths and injuries in a major earthquake. Officials estimate that there are about 4,000 vulnerable “soft story” buildings in the city.

Chan’s proposal requires the support of the City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti.

San Francisco adopted a similar ordinance last year.