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7.4 Earthquake in New Zealand a Grim Reminder of Emergency Preparedness Month in L.A.

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A car damaged by rubble from a building is seen following a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in central Christchurch, New Zealand, early Saturday morning.

A car damaged by rubble from a building is seen following a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in central Christchurch, New Zealand, early Saturday morning.
A 7.4 earthquake struck New Zealand's south island this morning, causing widespread damage. It struck near the city of Christchurch where around 400,000 people live. So far, there are no reports of casualties, reported the Associated Press.

With it just being the beginning of September, Angelenos should expect to hear a lot of earthquakes this month, whether they are actually occurring or not. This month is National Preparedness Month and because Los Angeles is a multi-hazard city, authorities know the subject all too well, from wildfires to quakes to mudslides.

But are residents prepared? On the national level, not really. "A 2007 study by the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, for instance, showed that 80 percent of Americans were “concerned” about another terror attack, but only one-third were prepared for a major disaster," according to the Washington Independent. "And last year, a FEMA survey found that while the number of individuals who had set aside disaster supplies at home had crept up from 50 percent in 2003 to 57 percent in 2009, the agency was still far from its goal of having 80 percent of households prepared with a communications plan, disaster supplies and practice at evacuating or weathering a disaster at home."

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We suspect (or more realistically, hope) Southern Californians are ahead of the curve in this regard.

The Los Angeles Fire Department is a good source for information throughout the month. With only three days in, they've already written five posts in celebration of the month-long awareness campaign.

And extending emergency preparedness education, the California Great Shake Out will be in October this year. 5.2 million people are apparently signed up to participate this year already.