There were a relatively small number of fatalities and casualties in the Whittier Narrows, but social disruption was extensive. An estimated 10,000 households and thousands of businesses were affected. The earthquake also resulted in an increase in the need for mental health services. Due both to extensive mitigation and preparedness programs and to the moderate size of the event, the emergency response was, in general, well-managed. Nevertheless, important insights were gained on potential weaknesses in areas such as communication co-ordination. The response by local residents was generally positive and adaptive, but the need for improved public awareness and training was also evident. The earthquake demonstrated the importance of ethnicity as a factor that influences the public's response to the earthquake hazard. Although the long-term impact of the earthquake on the Southern California will likely be imperceptable, some segments of the population, such as low-income earthquake victims and businesses that were marginal before the earthquake, my experience difficulty recovering. The impact of the earthquake on seismic safety programs in the affected communities is an important topic warranting further research.