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Close Neighborhood Plots Quake Survival Strategy

July 17, 1988|MARY BARBER | Times Staff Writer

Even when the earth under them isn't stable, the neighborhood will remain rock-solid, say the residents of Pine Bluff Drive.

The 29 Pasadena families who live on a ledge overlooking Eaton Canyon Golf Course are organizing for earthquake preparedness because, they said, everything else they've done together has worked.

Their Neighborhood Watch program, begun several years ago, has helped to keep the 1-block-long street almost completely free of crime. They keep an eye on each others' homes, watch out for each others' pets and are active participants in the Upper Hastings Ranch Assn. homeowners' group and its annual Christmas festivities.

So earthquake preparedness comes naturally, they said at a meeting Monday night.

Quake Predictions

"If we're not hurt, it's going to be like a big block party," said Carol Harsha about The Big One, as neighbors referred to the devastating quake that has been predicted to hit some time in the next 100 years or so.

Meeting in the home of Harsha and her husband, Larry, 24 of the residents began plotting their survival the way most disaster agencies recommend. They began making lists of those who have pools and spas for water supplies, those with special skills, and those with equipment that would be helpful in case of an earthquake. They plan to produce a directory of plumbers, electricians and people who have medical skills and equipment, campers, portable telephones and shortwave radios.

"We figure we might have to be on our own for days or even weeks, and we'll probably make it if we share resources," Carol Harsha said.

Pine Bluff Drive forms a loop off Riviera Drive in the foothills in Pasadena's northeast corner. Populated with many retirees and a wide age-range of families, including some with babies, its distinguishing characteristics may be that most residents have known each other for years and care about each other.

Homes on Bluff

The Oct. 1, 1987, quake did no perceptible damage to homes, and the neighborhood is in no particular danger if and when The Big One hits because it is on a bluff, said Larry Harsha, a civil engineer who works for the city of Pasadena.

But that's all the more incentive for residents to keep it that way.

"It wasn't like downtown (Pasadena) where buildings collapsed," said Ollie Weigel, who has lived on Pine Bluff Drive for 15 years. "But this earthquake business fits into the neighborhood concept. We have stocked a freezer for people with not enough food, and we've bought a butane stove and lantern."

Pam Pinkerton, a native of the south coast of England, said, "The neighborhood thing doesn't happen much in England, but there seems to be more of a need for people to get together here."

At last week's meeting, Byron Puett, public education officer for the Pasadena Fire Department, gave a slide show and earthquake advice and distributed several pamphlets that the department provides free.

"I think most of us will follow all the rules," Carol Harsha said. "And then as long as we're not hurt and we have our supplies, we're going to enjoy each other. That's the way we decided to look at it."

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