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Ref: Red Cross and business leaders in California promote business earthquake preparedness

Press Telegram

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Red Cross plans for workplace disasters



By Kristopher Hanson, Staff writer
Article Launched: 09/17/2007 12:00:00 AM PDT

Shift happens.

We know a major earthquake can hit at any moment, yet while many have prepared their homes for the Big One by stocking supplies and securing furniture, few seem to have their office or work space braced for a big disaster.

Even though workers spend a good portion of their week on the job and depend on it for a steady paycheck, it hasn't registered that workplace disaster preparedness can be just as important as at the home, emergency officials said.

"People tend to forget that businesses are more than just venues to make a profit," said Peggy Brutsche, Long Beach Red Cross chief operating officer. "They're a source of income for people and families, so it's a double whammy for individuals if they lose their home in a quake, and then also lose their job because their business was unprepared."

In an effort to ramp up business disaster preparedness, authorities are hosting a 4 p.m. Wednesday prevention forum at the law offices of Keesal, Young and Logan, 400 Oceangate in Long Beach.

The event focuses on what workers and businesses can do to prevent economic losses during and after a quake or other natural disaster.

Presenters include Dr. Lucile Jones of the U.S.

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Geological Survey, Brutsche and KFWB AM980's Jack Popejoy.
Jones' presentation will include an alarming video simulation of an earthquake hitting Southern California and the resulting damage.

Tips include storing financial and personal information in a secure, off-site location, using flash drives to store information, securing computers to desktops and fastening file cabinets to walls.

"Most people are injured in quakes by stuff flying around inside," Brutsche said. "You can easily keep that from happening, and it's relatively inexpensive."

What's more, local businesses can learn from history.

In the aftermath of the estimated 6.3-magnitude earthquake that rocked Long Beach in 1933, dozens of key businesses, including grocery stores, banks and hardware outlets, were shuttered as crews worked to clear debris and ruin.

The temblor and ensuing economic hit compounded the weak national economy, which was already mired in the depths of the Great Depression.

Unemployment locally became exacerbated as workers had no place to go, and within days, food and supplies became so scarce in some parts of town that residents were forced to line up in local parks for free soup supplied by the Red Cross.

"As we saw with Hurricane Katrina, catastrophic events have enormous economic impact," Brutsche said. "And what happens in L.A. County affects the whole nation."

To learn more, visit www.dare

toprepare.org.

Tickets to the forum cost $100, and proceeds will benefit the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. To purchase tickets or learn more, call (562) 490-4002.

Kristopher Hanson can be reached at kristopher.hanson@

presstelegram.com or (562) 499-1466.

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