You can never be too prepared for an earthquake or other disaster. That was what Dr. Dennis Mileti believed as a world-renowned disaster preparedness advocate who lived right here in the Coachella Valley. He recently passed away from the coronavirus.
News Channel 3's Caitlin Thropay looks back at his work and dedication to helping others survive disasters.
“A bit confrontational but also good-spirited in a way that did lead people to take action," director of communication, education, and outreach at Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) Mark Benthien described Dr. Mileti's personality to News Channel 3.
Dr. Mileti was a man that couldn’t be shaken of his passion for helping others get prepared for earthquakes.
“Being the passionate person that he was about emergency preparedness and the bottom line just caring for people and wanting to see them be successful, have a successful outcome no matter the emergency disaster was; that was his area of specialty," board president for the Coachella Valley Disaster Preparedness Network (CVDPN) Carla Sullivan-Dilley told News Channel 3 on Monday.
Mileti studied earthquakes from the social science side for over 50 years. He was the former director of the Natural Hazards Center and was a long-time resident of Rancho Mirage.
“He was literally known all over the world,” Sullivan-Dilley said.
In January, Mileti passed away at 75 years old from COVID-19 complications.
“Dr. Mileti’s legacy is going to be remembered in the work he did, the research he did that has been applied in many ways," Benthien said. "The great earthquake shake-out drills that are now all around the world are certainly a part of his legacy,” he added.
Benthien said Mileti was his mentor.
“He had the most influence than anyone in my career," he shared.
Benthien also said if you’re someone who ties down furniture that’s because Mileti's research showed people should do that and then use it as a conversation starter to get others to do the same.
“When you have people come visit you should show them that you’ve done that," he said. "That leads to questions like, ‘How much did it cost? How long did it take? Can you help me? Do you have a drill?’ that comes right out of the research he did for many years," Benthien added.
Benthien and Mileti worked together on his last presentation before he passed. Benthien will be sharing that presentation on Wednesday, March 31 at a Coachella Valley Disaster Preparedness Network webinar from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
To register for the webinar click this link here: https://usc.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_pAykgGITR5ecDTxXE3FKwQ
“He was never satisfied with the level of preparedness that the residents in Coachella Valley were showing so he wrote this presentation specifically for Coachella Valley residents," Sullivan-Dilley said.