In an effort to encourage Southern Californians to practice earthquake preparedness, the American Red Cross-Los Angeles region launched a five-part comedy Web series called The Magnitude.
The series, launched in March, which former Hermosa Beach Patch contributor helped produce, follows a group of locals as they prepare for the "big one" to hit.
In honor of April being national Earthquake Preparedness Month, Patch asked Melograna five questions about the series, in which he revealed that young adults seem to be the least prepared for an earthquake:
Hermosa Beach Patch: How did the webisodes come to fruition?
Jordan Melograna: I volunteered for the American Red Cross in January of 2010. Their communications department originally contacted me about helping with photography and writing for their website and newsletter.
When I first met with them, we discussed preparedness messages and how different age groups respond. Basically, if you have kids, you think about it. If you're older, you tend to think about it. But if you're young, without kids and no longer living with your parents, it's very unlikely that you have given any thought to getting ready.
We wanted a way to get through specifically to people who fell into this category. My co-producer, Monica Diaz, the Los Angeles Red Cross communications director, and I thought a short comedy Web series would be a great medium.
Patch: What do you hope the series will teach Southern California residents?
Melograna: Mostly, that you have to think about it [being prepared for an earthquake]. It's the price we pay to live here. It doesn't take that long, and you'll be doing yourself a huge favor if—really, when—the big one hits.
Patch: What about earthquake preparedness did you learn while producing the series?
Melograna: Right before my first meeting with the Red Cross, the Haiti earthquake struck. A group of friends and I were talking about what we'd do if the same thing happened in L.A. It only took a few minutes to realize that we had absolutely no idea what we were talking about. So the biggest lesson I learned personally was how unprepared I really was.
Patch: What was your favorite part of working on this project?
Melograna: For me, it was seeing the hugely positive response from filmmakers, actors, vendors and locations when Monica and I were putting the project together. The Red Cross does tremendously important work and it was great to see so many people immediately volunteer to donate time, energy and equipment to help them get this information out to the community.
Patch: Will there be more The Magnitude episodes in the future?
Melograna: We hope so—wildfires, mudslides, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes, tsunamis, house fires are all still out there.
Here are important steps that the Red Cross recommends you take before an earthquake occurs:
- Know the fire evacuation and earthquake plans for any building you occupy regularly, such as your workplace and home.
- Pick safe places in each room of your home, place of employment or school, where you can duck under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall in case of an earthquake.
- Practice drop, cover and hold on. If you do not have sturdy furniture to hold on to, sit on the floor next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.
- Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person’s bed in your home.
- Make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation.
- Bolt and brace water heaters, gas appliances, bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs.
- Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.
- Brace overhead light fixtures.
- Install strong latches or bolts onto cabinets, and large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.
All episodes of The Magnitude can be viewed on the American Red Cross' Prepare L.A. website.