It's actually very eye-opening. A ColeValleySF team member used to work at a university down in the South Bay. While attending a training for student leaders about emergency response, the trainer asked the audience who was present for the 1989 earthquake. Only 2 out of the 75 people in the room experienced that disaster, the trainer and the ColeValleySF team member. Something that is so fresh in many of our memories doesn't even exist in the generation that is moving into the area. What is our responsibility to pass this information on to the next generation?
Then comes another question... while doing research for this particular entry, we came across a somewhat disturbing fact. First, some background. The Marina district was one of the hardest hit areas in San Francisco during the 1989 earthquake. Mainly because of the fact that the area is build on landfill. When the earthquake hit, liquification of the land-filled soil occurred causing the waves from the earthquake to be magnified, thus causing more damage to that area than others not built on landfill. Many of the houses that were greatly damaged fell under the "soft story housing" category. These are buildings usually built on garages or open store fronts on the 1st story and have 3-4 floors of apartments above, causing 70-80% of the buildings weight to be resting on very a very weak 'foundation' in relation to other buildings. Surprisingly, after the 1989 earthquake, only a few of these types of homes were retrofitted. Take into consideration that retrofitting a house usually incurs a cost of 1%-3% of a home's value. That usually equals about 2-4 years of earthquake insurance, however, that will greatly diminish the cost of repairs should an earthquake happen. (Keep in mind that there's usually a cap with earthquake insurance repairs.) Whose responsibility, then, is it to make sure this happens? Without retrofitting a building, not only would you endanger those living in the building, but potentially neighbors and passersby. And although there are laws in place to require certain codes to be met for businesses, the same may not hold true for the residential side.
In anycase, today brings with it a piece of San Francisco History that will always remind us to be prepared. So take some time today to check your first aid kit and emergency supplies. No need to scrimp on safety.