L.A. Area Chamber

    TUESDAY | July 29, 2008





Coming up
at the Chamber

View all upcoming events on our Web calendar.

WED | July 30
Aviation Committee Meeting
Featuring John Heimlich, VP & chief economist, Air Transport Association
more info

THU | July 31
The Connection Point
Web 2.0-Leveraging New Media Marketing
more info

THU | Aug. 7
Business Growth & Tax Policy Committee Meeting
more info

TUE | Aug. 12
Referral Network
Grow Your Business
more info

TUE | Aug. 26
Referral Network
Grow Your Business
more info

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit

350 S. Bixel St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
213.580.7500 tel
213.580.7511 fax


Today’s shaker was a conspicuous reminder that we live in earthquake country. It’s also a very important opportunity to double check emergency procedures and make sure that your business has a disaster continuity plan ready to go.

Three years ago, Hurricane Katrina demonstrated just how destructive and disruptive a major disaster can be to a regional economy. Too many victims did not have adequate emergency preparation and the businesses that survived the post-disaster economic downturn did so because they had a solid continuity plan in place.

Here in Southern California, the Big One is inevitable with the probability rising each year. There is a 99 percent likelihood of at least a 6.7 magnitude quake along the San Andreas Fault in the next 30 years and a 46 percent likelihood of one 7.6 or greater, according to The U.S. Geological Survey.  The latter would be enormously destructive, cost thousands of lives and untold billions in damage and disruption.

A major earthquake along the San Andreas historically happens once every 150 years. It’s been 300 years since the last Big One. As one seismologist noted, the fault is essentially 10 months pregnant with an earthquake ready to pop. This inevitably could happen tomorrow or three decades from now, but those aren’t good odds on which any business or family should bet their livelihood.

What can you do?  First, sign up to participate in the nation’s largest earthquake preparedness exercise –The Great Southern California ShakeOut on Thursday, Nov. 13. Modeled after the successful exercises in Japan, every local business, government agency, school and family can participate in the multi-day scenario that tests your preparedness through an actual simulation. The L.A. Area Chamber is an active partner in the effort.  Take a moment to review this simulation, which gives you a very accurate snapshot of what to expect for days and months following the Big One.

Second, prepare a business continuity plan.  The federal government’s Ready Web site includes great information on how each business – large and small – can prepare a plan to survive the immediate days following a disaster and stay in business for the long term. There are also companion plans for households. As Southern California residents, these are among the two soundest investments we can make.

Finally, when the Big One hits, health care services will be overwhelmed beyond capacity levels. Many will be on their own to provide first aid to neighbors and loved ones. The American Red Cross provides emergency training and is always looking for emergency volunteers. And donating blood remains a top priority.

Today’s earthquake is a reminder.  Now is the time to develop an emergency plan so that we can protect our families, communities and economy in the event of a disaster.     

And that’s The Business Perspective. 

Gary L. Toebben
President & CEO
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

The Business Perspective is a weekly opinion piece by Gary Toebben, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, produced with the input of Samuel Garrison, Vice President of Public Policy.


by Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

L.A. Business

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Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, 350 S. Bixel St., Los Angeles, CA 90017
213.580.7500 | fax: 213.580.7511 | info@lachamber.com | www.lachamber.com

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