Vol. 1, Issue 9, July 8, 2003
California Announces New Earthquake Shelter System
The California Office of Emergency Services (OES) has announced plans for a comprehensive new earthquake shelter system that will be implemented throughout the state.
"We are confident that this new plan is a fiscally and socially responsible means of addressing the prevalent risks posed by earthquakes to California citizens," said OES Adjunct Director Jeffrey Goldberg. "For the relatively low cost of $54 million, we can have earthquake shelters installed throughout the state in a matter of months."
The plan is based on a modified interpretation of current OES earthquake safety guidelines.
"Basically, we currently recommend that our citizens seek shelter in a doorframe when an earthquake hits," said Goldberg. "However, this advice is obviously impractical for those trapped in a public outdoor space such as a park during an earthquake. It occurred to us that we could vastly expand the availability of doorframe shelters if we dispensed with the buildings surrounding them."
Several thousand standalone doorframes will be installed in public venues throughout California, including national parks and wildlife refuges.
"The environmental impact of a doorframe standing on its own in a forest would indeed be minimal," said a wary spokesman for the Sierra Club. "However..." The rest of his comment was lost when this reporter dropped his tape recorder.
Governor Davis has expressed support for the plan, but the Legislature approved it anyway. However, some modifications will be made to the execution of the project at the recommendation of the Homeland Security Department.
"In the interests of making sure that these shelters are not abused by terrorists, we are asking that the doorframes include locked doors," said Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge in a press conference. "In the event of an emergency, regional key wardens will be responsible for unlocking the doors and admitting citizens to the doorframes." It is not clear how the "key wardens" will be funded, but the state is proceeding with the plan.
Goldberg expressed excitement about the implementation of the plan. "I think this is really going to define California as a visionary state. I almost can't wait for the next earthquake to hit."