Photo | Google Image

Low Cost Ways to Prepare for the Big One

2019 A Voice in the NELA Wilderness April Christopher Nyerges Columnists Editions

A Voice in the NELA Wilderness

by Christopher Nyerges

There have been no major earthquakes in Los Angeles in quite a while. But the danger is ever present. The way to cope is to be prepared.

At WTI, a local nonprofit that teaches survival skills, earthquake preparedness has been in the curriculum for nearly 40 years.

The program is spearheaded by Julie Balaa, a WTI board member. (I am a longtime member of WTI.)

Here are some of the tips from Balaa’s WTI preparedness seminar:

Attend your Neighborhood Watch meetings. “Getting to know your neighbors and working with your neighbors is perhaps one of the most important ways to be ready for an earthquake,” says Balaa.

Water and Power:

“You never know what might happen in an earthquake,” says Balaa. “But you could expect electricity to go out and for water supplies to be sporadic.”

Balaa advises storing as much water as you can, up to two weeks’ worth if possible. Storing a lot of water is important because L.A.’s far flung water supply could be disrupted in a major quake. A large supply also helps to protect you if emergency responders are delayed. At WTI’s seminars, Balaa explains how to reuse existing containers to store water so you don’t have to buy expensive new ones.

To prepare for a power outage, Balaa encourages you to have as many manual appliances as possible, from can openers to, at the least, a small solar battery setup to produce some electricity. A small, affordable solar panel and inverter can be bought online.

What will you eat?

You need to have a supply of canned and dry goods (beans and pasta, for example) that do not need refrigeration.

Balaa also recommends that everyone grow some vegetables and greens and replace ornamental hedges and trees with those that produce food, such as citrus and avocado. After an earthquake, your own garden would supply fresh food; you could also trade and barter excess food for other supplies.

First aid:

Having a good first aid kit is a must. You can buy affordable, convenient kits from the Red Cross. Balaa also encourages everyone to take a Red Cross Emergency First Aid course. Visit for information about kits and classes.

To learn about dates, times and costs of WTI seminars on earthquake readiness and other topics, visit: or Facebook at WTI@MysteryScienceSurvivalSchool. Or call Balaa at 323-255-4028.

Christopher Nyerges, the author of “Guide to Wild Food,”
can be reached at