45 years ago, Mother Nature said “good morning” to Southern Californians with a not-so-gentle awakening. The 1971 Sylmar earthquake measured 6.7 on the Richter scale and caused widespread damage across the Southland.

The earthquake affected private homes and businesses. Transportation in the Los Angeles area was severely affected with roadway failures and the partial collapse of several major freeway interchanges.  Most notable and tragic were the Olive View Medical Center and Veterans Hospital which both experienced very heavy damage, and buildings collapsed at both sites, causing the majority of casualties that occurred.

Although it had been decades since a significant quake struck Southern California, it was a sobering reminder of the fact that we live in earthquake country.

At Forest Lawn, the 16 foot tall Carrara marble statue of Michelangelo’s “David” was knocked to the ground and left in a broken rubble in its Court.

Earthquake preparedness is something all of us should practice as residents of Southern California. A great resource to help you plan is the Great ShakeOut website at www.shakeout.org. Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills are an annual opportunity for people in homes, schools and organizations to practice what to do during earthquakes and to improve preparedness. The next Great ShakeOut is scheduled for October 20, 2016.

We encourage everyone to take the time to make sure they’re prepared for emergencies such as earthquakes. In Southern California, it’s not a matter of if, but when the “Big One” will hit.