Watch CBS News

Arizona Preparing For California Earthquake Evacuees

NEAR PHOENIX, AZ (CBSLA) — Californians aren't the only ones getting ready for the big one.

Arizona is preparing for an influx of evacuees after the next major earthquake. We all know it's coming but how ready are we and where would we go as disaster strikes?

As CBSLA's Elsa Ramon reports, Arizona is holding practice runs just outside of Phoenix, preparing for 400,000 evacuees from California.

Deputy Director for FEMA Wendy Smith-Reeve says the training will last three-and-a-half days on the softball field at the National Guard base near Phoenix.

Smith-Reeve says the goal is to make sure all agencies can work together and to spot any potential problem areas.

"Where our systems are stressed, when it comes to sheltering, when it comes to feeding, when it comes to fuel because part of the scenario is the fuel line is compromised in Cailfornia which directly effects Arizona," said Smith-Reeve.

Seismologist and author of "The Big Ones" Dr. Lucy Jones agrees infrastructure will be severely damaged when the big one hits Southern California and many won't be ready.

"Historically we've seen damage to water systems being one of the most disruptive things that happens," said Jones. "The estimate in shakeout was $50 billion in business disruption costs from lack of water because it is going to take up to six months to get it back."

The Red Cross says it's not just about providing evacuees a place to sleep but also getting them food, shelter and medical service. The Red Cross is one of more than a thousand agencies and organizations taking part in the drill.

"Part of this exercise is making sure our roads are ready. If there is a mass exodus from California, people would be using I-8 and I-10 to get here. So officials just want to make sure freeways are prepared," said Katie Conner.

The drills will wrap up Thursday.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.