Earthquakes are a major threat for Hill residents. Not only fire, but shaking ground can cause a significant emergency for those people living on the Hill.

The Mountain Disaster Preparedness group is focused on preparing and responding to disasters that might occur on the Hill. While fire threats dominate our summer and fall thoughts, other emergencies such as flooding and earthquakes can happen, and we need to be prepared for the consequences of those events, too. Last September, the MDP meeting about the early notice of looming El Niño flooding filled the Idyllwild Library conference room.

On Saturday Oct. 1, MDP is hosting a meeting for local residents to hear and ask questions of an earthquake specialist. The session begins at 11 a.m., at the Idyllwild Fire Station.

Margaret Vinci, from the California Institute of Technology, will discuss issues concerning the preparation for and the recovery from a significant earthquake.

Her topics will include what it means to live in earthquake areas, why we have so many in Southern California, what causes the earth to shake, what we need to prepare for an earthquake, secondary effects such as liquefaction and land slides and several others related how to survive a significant earthquake and how to recover from it.

“No matter where we live in [Southern California], there is a risk of an earthquake,” Vinci said. “I want to empower people to be self-sufficient. Emergency responders will take care of thousands in any disaster, but not everyone.”

Her presentation focuses on the results of a 7.8 magnitude quake occurring on the San Andreas fault. This scenario has been one of the most studied possibilities.

“If a 7.8 magnitude quake happened, what happens to electricity and for how long? What do you do with no cell phone?” are some of the questions that Vinci wants to answer for the attendees.

She has been with Cal Tech for 23 years and is currently the manager of the Office of Earthquake Programs.

Both Feyder and Vinci remind readers that the great Shake Out will be at 10:20 a.m., Oct. 20. “It’s an opportunity for everybody to plan,” Vinci urged registration at