The emergency simulation this morning will take some 60,000 persons away from their jobs, but the scenario is a common one: An earthquake of some magnitude that rattles a few metro area buildings.
Such events are common here, and Costa Ricans pretty well know how to act: They go racing into the streets.
The 1991 Limón earthquake jostled some buildings in the downtown, but none fell. The Sept. 5, 2012, Nicoya quake was of the same magnitude, 7.6, but there was no major damage reported in the Metro Area.
By contrast, the 1972 Managua, Nicaragua, quake had just a 6.2 magnitude but devastated that city.
The most damaging earthquake in historical times here was the one May 4, 1910, in Cartago. From 600 to 1,200 persons died, and many structures were destroyed. The ruins there of the Templo de Santiago Apóstol are a reminder of that day. That quake was just slightly stronger than the one in Managua later.
Costa Rica has made a lot of progress since the unreinforced masonry buildings collapsed in Cartago. Today buildings can withstand earthquake shock, and business owners who remodel have a shock of their own when inspectors require them to make the building earthquake resistant.
The Cartago quake was well documented, and an anniversary story is HERE!
The simulation today has as a goal to save lives. The national emergency commission and the Municipalidad de San José certainly will be getting the attention of the thousands of workers who participate.