MALIBU—Earthquake expert, Dr. Lucy Jones, will deliver a presentation about earthquake risk and preparedness in an effort of the city’s year-long Earthquake Resiliency Initiative during the Malibu City Council meeting on Wednesday, January 10. According to the city of Malibu website, the goal of the Earthquake Resiliency Initiative is aimed to heighten the community’s resiliency and ability to respond and recover, from a potential large earthquake that can prevent casualties and damage, and a shorter recovery period.

“Malibu is squarely in the middle of earthquake country, and we know that it is not a matter of if, but when, the Big One will strike,” said Mayor Skylar Peak. “So we have to be prepared. We are extremely fortunate to be able to participate in this important, cutting edge initiative with the leadership of Dr. Lucy Jones, who is one of the preeminent voices on earthquake preparedness and response.”

Jones has over 33 years with the U.S. Geological Survey, and recently served as the Science Advisor for Risk Reduction. She is the founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, where the mission is to create an understanding and application of scientific information to create more resilient communities. Jones is also a Research Associate at the Seismological Laboratory of Caltech, a position she has held since 1984.

In 2017, Malibu was invited to participate with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and Dr. Jones’ Center for Science and Society in the Southern California Earthquake Preparedness Initiative. Participating cities receive technical assistance to prepare for earthquakes and provide strategic solutions for improved resiliency that are suited to each community.

Malibu’s Earthquake Resiliency Initiative will include creating an inventory of soft-story buildings and identifying incentives for property owners to improve the seismic safety of these, as well as other vulnerable structures. Soft-story buildings have first floors that are less rigid than the floors above, and are vulnerable to earthquake damage because of large, unreinforced openings on the ground floors.

Openings often accommodate parking spaces, large windows and expansive lobbies in residential and retail buildings. During the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, the bottom floor of the Northridge Meadows apartment complex collapsed, killing 16 people on the first floor.

Throughout 2018, the city of Malibu will conduct public education, work to reduce non-structural earthquake hazards, update emergency plans, conduct Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training, and identify vulnerabilities in critical city functions and develop continuity of government strategies.