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Communication Is Now Easier In A Disaster PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Terry   
Thursday, 16 January 2014 05:46

Cal State Northridge students who now live in the apartment complex on the 9500 block on Reseda Boulevard in Northridge are largely unaware that 20 years ago at that very location, the Northridge Meadows Apartments building collapsed.

The three-story structure fell one floor onto another, killing 16 people and crushing automobiles on the ground parked in the apartment carport.

Now, an apartment building named Parc Ridge Apartments is in its place, a convenient short walking distance from the campus. Students now attending CSUN two generations later are unaware that much of CSUN’s growth followed the quake, and new large parking structures and buildings were erected

Following the devastating quake, students attended classes in bungalows.

And there have been many changes since 1994, including how we can communicate during a disaster.

Chris Ipsen, public information officer for the City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department (EMD), said the Internet and social media outlets give the public other ways to inform friends and loved ones of their conditions in an emergency. “There are many ways – Facebook, Twitter, Skype – that are reliable ways to communicate,” Ipsen said.

“And the Internet would probably still be available [in a disaster].” Another advance is the phone.

In 1994, most people were still tethered to landlines. When the earthquake struck, many of those lines became jammed or unavailable. If such an event occurred today, it would be easier to communicate.

As far as phones go, Ipsen said, most of us have switched from landlines to cells as the main method of communication.

But there are some potential obstacles for using cell phones in an emergency. “There is still the possibility that cell towers can be overwhelmed” by in-state usage, Ipsen said.

In addition, there are no seismic regulations for most cell towers. “If they go down, it becomes another issue,” Ipsen sai He said if you are able to get a dial tone during an emergency, the EMD suggests trying to reach a friend or relative out of state to let them know you are okay.

Better yet, learn to text. “Texting works on a different band-with than the phones; you have a better chance of getting through,” Ipsen said. He said satellite phones often work well in emergencies, but the cost of the phones and minutes can be prohibitive.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 January 2014 12:51

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