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Officials release comprehensive Southern California earthquake plan

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State and federal emergency management officials yesterday signed off on a new earthquake response plan for Southern California.

For nearly two years, 1,500 government and private sector emergency planners considered what they'd do if a 7.8 earthquake struck Southern California.

Justin Dombrowski is with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “We're building the team before we have to so when we respond we're going to have a more coordinated effort. But we're also spending time and energy looking at different ways to resolve issues.”

Officials say the expected “big one” could kill 1,800 people, injure 53,000 and leave half a million homeless. They said one of the biggest issues they’d failed fully consider until now is how to restore water service at the 600 water agencies that cover the region.

California Emergency Management Agency Secretary Matthew Bettenhausen says they're looking more closely at mutual aid, and reminding people to store one gallon of water per person and pet for at least three days. “It's not a matter if a 7.8 earthquake is going to happen, it's when.”

Scientists say they're expecting such a quake, likely within the next three decades.