Fearing a big earthquake like the one in Mexico isn't enough. Here's how to turn anxiety into action

The magnitude 3.6 earthquake that struck Westwood on Monday night was small and caused no damage. The deadly 7.1 earthquake that struck hours later in Mexico City caused buildings to collapse and resulted in a significant number of deaths.

Both are reminders that a much bigger and more damaging quake eventually will hit Southern California.

Here’s some tips on how to turn quake anxiety into positive action.

Small preparations can make a big difference

Some of the scenarios for a major earthquake are grim.

The U.S. Geological Survey published a hypothetical scenario of what a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the San Andreas Fault would look like. The death toll could be one of the worst for a natural disaster in U.S. history: nearly 1,800, about the same number of people killed in Hurricane Katrina. More than 900 could die from fire; more than 400 from the collapse of vulnerable steel-frame buildings; more than 250 from other building damage; and more than 150 from transportation accidents, such as car crashes because of stoplights being out or bridges being broken.

But creating earthquake kits and making other preparations can be life-saving.

For more on earthquake preparation, go here and here.

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Chris AlexakisL.A., environment