Sunday’s 6.0-magnitude Napa Valley earthquake should serve to motivate California officials to make funding of an early-earthquake detection system a priority, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom said.
NBC Bay Area reporter Bob Redell interviewed Newsom as the former San Francisco Mayor was visiting the Napa Valley Mobile Home Park, where four homes were burned to the ground following the temblor that rocked the entire region at 3:20 a.m. Sunday morning
The South Napa Earthquake, as it’s being called, wasn’t as strong as it could have been – although it was the Bay Area’s strongest quake since 1989 – but Newsom said the damage at the mobile home park proves that the rumble centered around American Canyon is nothing to take lightly.
Newsom said the burned mobile homes are a reminder to him and other government officials to provide support for vulnerable communities. “Napa Valley is not all fancy wineries,” Newsom said. “There are folks here on fixed-incomes who don’t know what the heck just happened and need us here for the next month or two.”
While Newsom commended the efforts of first responders and the entire coordinated response to the quake, he said there is more the government needs to do to protect California’s citizens. The Napa quake has catalyzed conversation about early-detection systems: An early-detection system at UC Berkeley detected the shaking 10 seconds in advance, but Newsom said it’s time for California to invest in taking that technology further.
“It’s crazy we’re not funding it,” Newsom said. “We’ve gotta fund it. I mean, we had a 10-second warning here, we can get up to 60 seconds (warning) most of the experts believe.” Newsom added that earthquake detection should be a top priority. He said he would like to see the governor’s office take the issue more seriously. “We have the technology,” Newsom said. “We could provide at least a little bit of warning.”
Serious policy conversations about early-detection technology are likely to take place in the coming weeks, but immediately, the state’s focus will be on providing support to local first responders. Once the dust has cleared and the damage assessments have been filed, Newsom said he hopes California gets an early start on receiving early notice for the next big regional earthquake.
Newsom said that the nerves, damage and disruption residents experienced as a result of the quake Sunday “is the price for living in the Bay Area. It’s a wakeup call to everybody.”
The lieutenant governor reminded viewers to make their own emergency plans. He recommended starting with the sf72.org website.