Seal Beach - Although experts say it will be sometime in the next 20-plus years, seniors in Leisure World want to prepare now for the big earthquake that has been all but guaranteed by experts to hit Southern California.

Residents in the community have set up the Planning for Emergency Preparedness Foundation to help gather supplies, draw up emergency response plans and offer residents survival tips for when a major earthquake hits.

The group is holding its first meeting on Wednesday, which will include David Bowman, chair of the Geological Sciences Department at Cal State Fullerton as the keynote speaker.

"In this major regional quake, police, fire, the Red Cross and other emergency services will be spread too thin to get to us for a minimum of a week," said Scott McIntyre, the group's vice president. "They are telling us we must be ready to take care of ourselves. We would be foolish not to prepare."

The U.S. Geological Survey has predicted the southern part of the San Andreas Fault, which runs 100 miles from San Bernardino to San Diego, has been quiet for nearly 300 years, according to National Geographic Magazine.

Too quiet, experts say.

Scientists say pressure is building under the tectonic plates in this stretch of the fault line, which means it's just a matter of time before those plates hit their breaking point.

A slip in the earth's crust could mean a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, or bigger, in the area, geologists reported.

Geologist Mary Lou Zoback told National Geographic Magazine that recent seismic activity the Los Angeles and Orange County areas could indicate the big one is on its way.

The great San Francisco earthquake of 1906 that virtually destroyed the city had multiple smaller quakes shake the area before the devastation hit.

Zoback cites the 6.7 Northridge quake in 1994 as a possible warning sign the fault is about to slip.

Seal Beach residents and PEP President Ann Pepper said recent seismic activity indicates Southern California could possibly be next and Leisure World wants to be ready.

"Major quakes struck around the globe this year," Pepper said. "Working together, when our turn comes, whenever it comes, we will be ready. Perhaps we can be a model for other Southern California communities."

The event will be at 10 a.m. at Leisure World and will also include information booths and free emergency whistles for the first 200 residents to arrive.

For local coverage of seismic activity, check out the Register's science blog, OC Science.