Earthquake Updates

Kathryn Mechaley


“Earthquakes are a threat to us since we live in California and it is our job to be prepared.” Diane Kooken, wife of Kurt Mechaley and mother of Kathryn Mechaley has experienced many earthquakes throughout her life. She knows of the danger and does her part to try to be safe. Living in Pasadena, she knows an earthquake can strike at any moment.

Kooken has been part of earthquakes since she was a child. When she was twelve years old she experienced the Sylmar earthquake that was located in the San Fernando Valley and took place on February 9th, 1971. This was a quake of the magnitude 6.5-6.7. Kooken was sleeping when she awoke the earth trembling at six in the morning. Her instincts took over and she rushed out of bed, into the doorway right as the mirror above her bed crashed down where she would have been if she was still snoozing. She was terrified in these moments! In her neighborhood many chimneys and fireplaces were affected. When this earthquake ended there were 65 killed and $500 million in damage.

On October 17, 1989, another earthquake struck, this time reaching a magnitude of 6.9. It’s name was Loma Prieta and was at the Santa Cruz section of the San Andreas Fault. It was 5.04 p.m. and a game was being played for the World Series at Candlestick Park, San Francisco. This was the first earthquake broadcasted on television. Kooken was working in Los Angeles, when suddenly her door slammed shut. The earthquake was so strong and Kooken was very shocked. This earthquake caused lots of damage including a double decker freeway collapsing, 63 deaths, and $6 billion dollars in property damage.

One last vivid memory was when the Northridge earthquake came and destroyed many of Kooken’s friends’ houses. She was filled with sorrow at the challenges they faced. This earthquake was the first to strike directly under an urban area since the 1933 Long Beach quake. It arrived on January 17, 1994, at 4:30 in the morning and was a 6.7 earthquake.

In conclusion, earthquakes are a challenge we face in California and the only thing we can do is prepare and keep researching. Kooken gave some tips to help get ready for earthquakes. First of all you should have a supply of water and food for the worst case, establish safe places in your home, hang pictures and mirrors away from beds and furniture, and develop an emergency communications plan. “Remember to always be ready!”

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