Preparing for the worst

Huntington Beach may not be anywhere near New Jersey, but it shares one potential danger — the coast.

After witnessing the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, Robinwood Church in Huntington Beach wants residents prepared for an earthquake or other disaster. Robinwood is hosting an earthquake and disaster presentation from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Jan. 12 at the church.

The American Red Cross, the Orange County Fire Authority and Huntington Beach Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will discuss how residents can prepare for a natural disaster.

"Any opportunity we have to try and encourage people to be better prepared, I will have time for," said Carol Burtis, a 20-year member of Huntington Beach CERT and a member of Robinwood Church.

She and her husband, Phil Burtis, will demonstrate how to create a "Grab-and-Go Bag," with essentials such as change of clothes, medicine, flashlights and other items.

"My homework assignment for them is to take a grocery bag, grab a pair of shoes and a flashlight and have that be the start of their Grab-and-Go Bag," Burtis said. "Take action and start preparing."

American Red Cross Lifeline Solutions Representative Tamara Durica doesn't want to see Huntington Beach residents suffer like those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

"I want them to realize how important it is to be prepared," said Durica, a member of Robinwood. "People don't realize we have earthquakes all the time. But we are expecting the big one to be 7.9 or above soon."

Chris Hankins, business administrator of Robinwood Church, was already planning an emergency preparedness lecture before Hurricane Sandy hit, but she hopes the East Coast disaster has helped remind locals about their own preparedness.

"If it isn't in front of them, people don't think about it," Burtis said. "They really need to take action."

One precaution Durica and Burtis want people to take? Secure their furniture — TVs, cabinets and other large items — to prevent them from falling.

Another major concern is earthquake liquefaction.

Properties built on top of sand will feel the effects of liquefaction, where the ground takes a liquid state and will sustain the shaking effects of an earthquake for a longer period of time, Burtis said.

Hankins understands the importance of disaster preparedness, having survived Typhoon Pamela in 1976 when she and her family lived in Guam.

"We didn't have water for two weeks, electricity for a month and a telephone connection for six months," Hankins said.

After seeing the devastation left by Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, Hankins simply wants the community to be ready.

"We can't keep it from happening, but we can do our little part to be prepared so we can help out in any way we can," she said.

Twitter: @acocarpio

If You Go:

Where: Robinwood Church, 5082 Argosy Ave., Huntington Beach

When: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday

Contact: (714) 421-8130 or

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