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Governor’s Homeland Security Director Discusses Earthquakes

California Office of Homeland Security Director Matthew Bettenhausen filled in for Governor Schwarzenegger as Tuesday Morning´s KVML Newsmaker of the Day:

“Hi, this is Matthew Bettenhausen, director of the California Office of Homeland Security, filling in for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with another California Report.

In the Golden State, we take disaster preparedness and emergency response very seriously. With as many natural disasters as California has, we can never afford to let down our guard.

Scientists say, for instance, that we are virtually certain to have a 6.7 magnitude earthquake or larger within the next 30 years.

That means an earthquake could happen tomorrow or it could be 30 years from now.

But we must always be ready, always prepared.

That´s why every year since 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger´s administration has run an annual statewide exercise simulating terrorist attacks or natural disasters.

This week, the Governor´s five year old Golden Guardian exercise program ran the biggest earthquake drill in the United States´ history. Hundreds of agencies were involved.

Over 10,000 first responders, military personnel, volunteers and staff and most importantly, more than five million members of the public and schoolchildren participated, learning about earthquake awareness.

Without telling anyone in advance, the Governor moved up the exercise schedule by five hours to 5 a.m., to really test our team and they came through with flying colors.

Like the Governor, I was amazed at how quickly everyone moved and the capabilities that we have were deployed and I share his belief that California is the best prepared state in the nation.

We will do more exercises because we can always get better.

But the only way to deal with the kind of 7.4 magnitude earthquake we practiced this week is if every one of us prepares and works together.

Personal responsibility is the key.

Have a disaster plan for your own family.

Know where your escape routes are.

Know where you will meet up if you get separated.

Contact your children´s school to understand what they will do with your children in an emergency and to make sure that they have a plan.

Have enough food and water at home for at least three days.

That´s at least a gallon of water for each individual for each day.

We should all have emergency kits in our home, at work and in our cars, with basic necessities like a radio, a flashlight, batteries, blankets and a first aid kit with medications.

You can also get great information on how to prepare by clicking on the WE PREPARE link of the CaliforniaVolunteers.org website. That´s CaliforniaVolunteers.org.

Plan and prepare to be a survivor, not a victim.

So learn all you can about being as prepared as you can be and together we can deal with anything that hits us.

On behalf of Governor Schwarzenegger, this is Matthew Bettenhausen.

Thank you for listening.”

The Newsmaker of the Day can be heard each weekday morning at 6:47, 7:47 and 8:47 on AM-1450 KVML.

Written by Mark Truppner