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Whittier Narrows Earthquake

In the fall of 1987, a fairly large earthquake struck the Whittier Narrows fault in Southern California. The damage from that quake showed that the California State University at Los Angeles is located near the Whittier Narrows fault line (Kimball, 1988, p. 54). During that earthquake, a facade fell from a campus parking structure and crushed a young female student to death. In addition, severe structural damage was sustained in the university's library building. If another large earthquake were to hit the Whittier Narrows fault or any of the other surrounding faults, further damage and injury to human life could result. It is important that the staff and students at CSULA be prepared to deal with this type of emergency. One of the reasons for this importance is the fact that the university is a vital social and economic institution within the Los Angeles community. As noted by one writer, damage at a local university can be devastating because in such a case the institution and its research facilities might be "seriously diminished as a center of higher education for months or even years" following the quake (Bolt, 1991, p. 173). However, an even more important consideration than that of saving the buildings at CSULA is that of saving the lives of the students, teachers and staff. In particular, if a large quake were to hit while classes were in session, there would be an increased potential for human casualties. In the aftermath of a large earthquake, emergency facilities throughout the city would be overloaded. Therefore, the university would not necessarily be able to depend upon local hospitals, police departments and fire departments to respond immediately to the situation. Because of this factor, CSULA needs a plan for earthquake response which provides a great deal of selfsufficiency.

In the event of a large magnitude quake, many important city facilities could be shut down. For example, roads could be separa...

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Whittier Narrows Earthquake. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 03:55, February 22, 2017, from