Support for LAist comes from
Made of L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Risk Of Dying In An Earthquake Roughly The Same As Being Shot By A Toddler, Expert Says

Support your source for local news!
The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

Despite anxiety-inducing warnings that the San Andreas fault is "locked, loaded and ready to roll," one earthquake expert says that instead of freaking out, we should take smart precautions to prepare for "The Big One." Seismologist superstar Dr. Lucy Jones, aka "The Earthquake Lady," has offered a stark reminder that our chances of dying during a quake are actually quite low, especially when compared to other risks we face. Earlier this month at the National Earthquake Conference in Long Beach, the soon-to-retire Jones told the L.A. Times, “You’re about as likely to be shot by a toddler than die in an earthquake."

It seems the risk of dying in a California quake is at a rate of around 40 deaths per year when considered over a century, according to Jones. Meanwhile, the number of Americans shot by a toddler was in roughly the same range in 2015, according to the Washington Post, which pointed out that people are getting shot by toddlers about once a week.

With her usual informed aplomb and charm, the highly-regarded seismologist offered the surprising statistical comparison as a means to encourage people to keep the threat of earthquakes in perspective. Rather than be frozen by fear, she wants us to know that we're far more likely to survive and instead take steps to quake-proof your home and develop a plan of action in the case of a disaster.

"We're afraid of earthquakes because they make us feel out of control. We can't control the earthquake, but you can control your environment," Jones told the Times. "So take control—by making your environment a safe place to be in an earthquake."

Support for LAist comes from

Jones says that our fear of earthquakes is understandable given the random nature of them, though hopefully a proposed earthquake early warning system could give us a bit more lead time to take last-minute precautions.

To help you heed Jones' advice to take control and smartly prepare your home for an earthquake, head over to Earthquake County Alliance for tips and resources.

Most Read