Yes, Ralph, I have yet to experience a "big one". My college major was Earth Sciences, so I may understand it better than most and I'm still not scared of earthquakes. These events along the San Andreas Fault... the fault in the area that's capable of generating an earthquake this large has a 200-250 year periodicity along the locked segments of the fault. This means that we would have an event along a particular locked segment of the San Andreas, not along the entire fault, so it is somewhat localized. We do have a high probability of experiencing one at any time in the SF Bay Area. Our state has engineering standards that would mitigate a lot of structure losses. Our weak link is our dependence on the electric grid, and our older structures. The high number of deaths from other earthquakes across the world is due to lack of building codes and preparation for such events. Believe me, California has the brainpower and tax base to enforce rigorous building codes and beef up public works to withstand such events. We are propagandized with earthquake preparedness every October, ad nauseum.
Compare this to weather events. Like the number of deadly hurricanes lining up in the Antlantic over the past years, the rampant flooding over this last year and the repeated tornado warnings in the tornado belt, you have to admit that the frequency of these events far exceed the number of deadly earthquakes we experience in California.
The largest earthquake in my lifetime, the Loma Prieta, resulted in 67 deaths in a very populated area. Same area with less population, the great San Francisco 1906 earthquake, is estimated to claim 3,000 persons without the stringent seismic and fire codes we have today. According to NOAA, each year 60 people die of tornadoes alone. Hurricanes have claimed thousands at a time, and deadly hurricanes are increasing.
Disaster recovery is a lot quicker with earthquakes. Structural damage was spotty in the Loma Prieta earthquake. Yes, you saw on TV dramatic fires, freeway structures collapsing, and brick buildings turned to piles of rubble, but neighborhoods were still relatively intact. Yes it took awhile to reconstruct the roadways and rebuilt all the collapsed buildings, again isolated cases among other intact buildings and freeway structures, but they only closed the financial district off in SF for a couple of days to clear rubble and repair services. We were all back to work in the Financial District by the end of the week. Most areas didn't even have to close businesses the day after because of minimal damage. Most of the SF Bay Area returned to work the next morning with stories to tell their coworkers. Compare that to recovery from flooding, tornadoes and hurricanes where whole neighborhoods can be wiped out. Plus you have to wait until waters recede before you can even think about recovering after a hurricane or extreme flooding.
Again, weather events are a lot more scary to me than any stinkin' event that happens every couple hundred years. The Pacific Northwest has much deadlier thrust faults that can generate much larger earthquakes than the San Andreas Fault. Like the 1964 Alaska earthquake and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that left us with Fukushima radiation. The periodicity of these earthquakes are centuries apart. The oceanic Juan de Fuca plate is pushing the Pacific Northwest into the continent and that could cause a 9 Richter earthquake and effect the less populated parts of northern California. The last event there was in 1700.