October 17 Is the 30th Anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake

Hard to believe it has been that long.

by Eric Holdeman / October 15, 2019

Time flies when you are having fun. The 1989 San Francisco World Series earthquake, also more formally known as the Loma Prieta earthquake, occurred on Oct. 17. It was the first significant earthquake in years, and with national media all in San Francisco for the World Series and dramatic pictures of collapsed bridges and fires in the Marina District, there was much attention to the topic of earthquakes in other cities on the West Coast.

To frame this even better is to share that the city of Seattle did not have an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) nor did it have an emergency management program. It took several years, but they built out an EOC in the basement of an old brick fire station. Need I say more?

Major events do motivate organizations/governments that are not prepared to "do something." Another example was that the city of Chicago did not establish an Office of Emergency Management (OEM) until after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

One last note is about bridges. Seattle had an exact replica of the Cypress Viaduct that collapsed. Finally, 30 years later, the Alaskan Way Viaduct was torn down this summer — before it could fall down in an earthquake. Who says government does not move with "all deliberate speed?"

Jerry Quinn, who lives in California, reminded me of the anniversary date. He also noted that it took FEMA and the state of California 24 years to close out that federally declared disaster.

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