On October 17, 1989 at approximately 5:04 PM, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook the Oakland and San Francisco areas. The earthquake lasted for 20 seconds. The epicenter was located approximately 60 miles south of San Francisco, and could be felt hundreds of miles away. Two major factors were involved with this disaster. It was rush hour, and game three of the World Series was taking place at Candlestick Park. Many major overpasses collapsed crushing the cars that were beneath them. Many structures collapsed to rubble including the Pacific Garden Mall, in Santa Cruz that was packed with shoppers. This earthquake caused nearly 10 billion dollars in total damage to the entire affected region. Scientists had predicted that a major earthquake would happen in this area, but were not able to give a specific date and time.
Prior to the earthquake, many of the emergency response organizations had been training for such an event. There were procedures already in place for a large-scale earthquake. These organizations such as the fire department knew the risks of being in a seismic region. Although most of the emergency workers where prepared many of the citizens were not. A combination of apathy and not being educated of the risks and hazards led to thousands of people being displaced and not knowing what to do next.
The response of multiple fire departments was not a problem. Most of them had Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) for such an event. The fire department's main concern was search and rescue efforts. There were also several fires reported in the area due to ruptured natural gas lines. An evacuation of citizens also was one of the responsibilities of the fire department. Without mutual aide agreements with neighboring agencies, the fire department would not have been able to accomplish search and rescue along with hazard removal successfully.
The Loma Prieta earthquake required local fire departments to use all of the equipment and...
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