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California prepares for the ‘Big One’ with earthquake drill

by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, October 20th, 2017

California held its latest annual “Great Shakeout” earthquake drill on Thursday.

The event, first held nine years ago in the Los Angeles area, was organized by scientists and emergency officials as part of a campaign to prepare the region’s inhabitants for a catastrophic quake that experts say is inevitable and long overdue.

“So this is the big shaker and today. We’re simulating a 7.7 magnitude earthquake, which is a very significant quake. A quake like that would be very damaging to our infrastructure. We would lose power, we would lose water and people are going to be on their own for a period three days, seven days or longer,” said President of ‘Ready America’ disaster supplies company Eff Primes.

The exercise has since expanded to encompass all of California and most other states. In many places, entire school districts, colleges, workplaces, and municipalities have registered to take part.

In keeping with the drill’s quake-survival message, participants are urged to “drop, cover and hold” – meaning get down on hands and knees, cover their heads and necks under a sturdy piece of furniture and hang on until the hypothetical shaking stops.

“Did today serves as an example to every single corporate office, agency or organization, even households, and schools. So this serves as an example for everybody to be prepared and to train and to drill, wherever they might be,” said exercise designer for “The Great Shakeout” Erik Franco

One of the larger gatherings was held at the natural history museum in exposition park near downtown Los Angeles, based on the premise of a magnitude 7.8 quake striking the southern end of the San Andreas Fault, a subterranean chasm between two massive plates of the earth’s crust that extends hundreds of miles across California. — Reuters

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Southern California residents advised to “be ready to go” as wildfires continue to roar

by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, December 8th, 2017

Authorities feared the four major fires — ranging from Los Angeles up the Pacific coast to Santa Barbara County – would be whipped up by the region’s notorious westward Santa Ana winds that could reach hurricane strength.

“The prediction is even though this is a period of calm winds that we will continue to get gusts through Saturday that will be erratic and unpredictable, as high as 50-70 miles and hour [about 80-110 KPH]. As the chief said yesterday, these conditions combined with the heat that is now coming to the area, the dryness, the amount of vegetation that someone of the areas that have not burned, makes this still a very threatening environment. So even as you see inroads being made we are going to have an abundance of caution. We want to make sure that you are safe and that we don’t order people back to their homes or allow people back to their homes any earlier than possible,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The national weather service said Santa Ana winds were blowing on Thursday afternoon, and the California state fire agency said gusty winds and extremely low humidity would continue through Sunday.

Wildfires roared through canyons, hillsides and residential areas in densely populated southern California for a fourth day on Thursday.

Thousands of people have evacuated ahead of the fires, which have destroyed hundreds of homes and forced hundreds of Los Angeles-area schools to close.

“Our biggest nightmare has been the palm tree farm back there. And you know, they are so you know prone to lighting on fire. They are just torches basically. So we’ve been watching that very closely and then this morning, of course, the wind and the sparks got together and burned them all up,” Mandy Dugan, a local resident.

Filipinos were among the evacuees from affected counties. Three of them are staying at Sylmar evacuation center in San Fernando Valley.

Ricardo Victoria said that the authorities ordered forced evacuation as the wildfire came very close to their homes.

Ricardo said other Filipinos were brought to different centers for safety. Representatives of Filipino organizations and the Philippine Consulate are constantly communicating with Los Angeles authorities to check and verify on the situation of Filipinos affected by the wildfire,” said the evacuee.

The Los Angeles local government has set up 16 evacuation centers to where affected residents can stay and four more centers for pets and other animals.

The red zones remain under mandatory evacuations and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti emphasized very strongly and clearly to the residents to be ready to go and do not hesitate to leave when necessary. — Reuters


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California wildfire not only damaged houses but also eliminated memories

by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, October 13th, 2017

Wildfire in California

Victims of the wildfires in California, U.S. have begun the painful process of returning back to their neighborhoods and picking up the pieces of their shattered homes.

Thousands of houses were left in ruins after days of deadly wildfires, which has, so far, claimed 21 lives.

“When I found out it was happening, I was pretty devastated. Our neighbor, he is a firefighter; he saved our cats and our dog. And we got all of our family pictures, so I’m really grateful for that. It’s just stuff at the end of the day. I’m just glad my family is okay, said Breanna Shaevitz, a local resident for 15 years.

Now Shaevitz’ parents have to live in a hotel, and they will be living there for around one year.

For most people whose houses were burned in the wildfires, the fires not only damaged their residence but also eliminated memories. It will be a long-term project to rebuild the damaged houses and rebuild the people’s lives.

In Santa Rosa, some houses survived, but some were utterly and completely destructed as though they were hit by a bomb.

“That area doesn’t look good at all. Walk by your neighbors and everything is gone,” said the local resident.

With fires still spreading, many are frustrated that authorities will not allow them to go back into their homes. Hundreds of people are still reported missing though communities are holding out hope that the main reason is that power is down in many areas.

The Jackson family is picking up the pieces of what was left of the home they lived in for three decades. So far they have only able to salvage a few metal boxes and items like cast-iron skillets.

Homeowner Regina Jackson is trying to stay positive – being thankful that all of her family survived.

“There are so many ways to replace with new memories. We have a wonderful family. That’s where I can get my strength. I mean at our age it’s hard to think about starting over. But we are pretty resilient and we will,” said Jackson. — Reuters

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Hospital staff training helps save lives after shooting in Las Vegas

by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, October 6th, 2017

It was a night of non-stop surgeries, and Las Vegas even made it legal for out of town medics to work in the city. But the staff of the medical centers said they were prepared for the worst.

Spring Valley Hospital ER Director Dr. Carolyn Hafen said surgeons, nurses and administrators rallied amid the chaos and controlled it thanks to regular mass casualty training sessions at the facility.

“We’ve done training we’ve done different studies. But when 50 of them arrive in a matter of minutes that training becomes a nice resource. But the action is in front of you and we just stayed calm and communicated,” said the director.

Among the shooting victims hospitalized at Spring Valley is a 23-year-old Elle Smith. She traveled from California with a friend to watch the country music concert.

Now she is at the hospital with a gunshot wound to the head, fighting for her life.

Elle’s mom Katie said the rapid, trained response of emergency medical technicians at the shooting scene and later at hospitals like Spring Valley saved her daughter’s life.

“She’s also alive because there was an EMT right there close to where she fell and he was able to put pressure on the wound,” said Katie.

“We feel like we are here with a family, as opposed to just nurses and doctors and being in a hospital this has been just an amazing thing for us. And we feel blessed to be here,” she said.

Meanwhile, Las Vegas police and hospitals have called for people to donate blood as the blood banks are expected to be depleted.

“I just feel like it’s my civic duty as being a citizen of this city and of this state just to come down and help out,” said a blood donor.

“When a tragedy happens like this, everyone has to come together and to see the amount of donations and the amount of people here is just unbelievable,” said blood donor.

As there were large numbers of blood donors and staff members were too busy to serve everyone in time, many people had to wait for as long as eight hours under the scorching sun to donate blood. — Reuters

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