California: Get ready for the Great Shake Out Earthquake Drill on Thursday.
When the ground begins to shake, do you and your family, friends and community know what to do?
If not, you can start preparing by participating in the world’s largest earthquake drill organized known as the “Great Shake Out Earthquake Drill.”
Starting at 10:17 a.m. (Local Time) on Thursday, October 17th, 2019, approximately 10,719,579 people in California will joining millions more people across the United States and in several international countries will “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” simulating as if a major earthquake is occurring at that moment.
The ShakeOut began in California and has also been organized in many other states and countries.
According to their ShakeOut website, over 21.4 million in the United States and over 65.6 million internationally are participating in this earthquake drill.
This year’s earthquake drill will being occurring on the day when the magnitude 6.9 earthquake, known as the Loma Prieta Earthquake, shook the San Francisco Bay area 30 years ago at 5:04 p.m. PT on Tuesday, October 17th, 1989, and just days after magnitude 4.5 earthquake shook the Pleasant Hill, California.
According to their ShakeOut website, it’s important to do a “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” drill; you may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake, before strong shaking knocks you down–or drops something on you.
Practicing by yourself, or with your family, friends, neighbors and community helps you be ready to respond.
If you are inside a building, move no more than a few steps, then “Drop, Cover and Hold On”: “DROP” to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!), Take “COVER” by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and “HOLD ON” to it until the shaking stops.
Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. In most buildings you are safer if you stay where you are until the shaking stops.
If you are outdoors when the shaking starts, you should find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines, then Drop, Cover and Hold On. Stay there until the shaking stops.
If you are driving, pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Once the shaking stops, proceed with caution and avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged.
Ground shaking during an earthquake is seldom the cause of injury. Most earthquake-related injuries and deaths are caused by collapsing walls and roofs, flying glass and falling objects.
It is extremely important for a person to move as little as possible to reach the place of safety he or she has identified because most injuries occur when people try to move more than a short distance during the shaking.
Look around you now, before an earthquake. Identify safe places such as under a sturdy piece of furniture or against an interior wall in your home, office or school so that when the shaking starts you can respond quickly.
An immediate response to move to the safe place can save lives. And that safe place should be within a few steps to avoid injury from flying debris.
According to their ShakeOut website, during an earthquake, do not do the following:
– Do not get in a doorway! An early earthquake photo is a collapsed adobe home with the door frame as the only standing part. From this came our belief that a doorway is the safest place to be during an earthquake. In modern houses and buildings, doorways are no safer, and they do not protect you from flying or falling objects. Get under a table instead!
– Do not run outside! Trying to run in an earthquake is dangerous, as the ground is moving and you can easily fall or be injured by debris or glass. Running outside is especially dangerous, as glass, bricks, or other building components may be falling. You are much safer to stay inside and get under a table.
– Do not get in the “triangle of life.” In recent years, an e-mail has been circulating which describes an alternative to the long-established “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” advice.
According to the Earthquake Country Alliance, the so-called “triangle of life” and some of the other actions recommended in the e-mail are potentially life threatening, and the credibility of the source of these recommendations has been broadly questioned. The “triangle of life” advice (always get next to a table rather than underneath it) is based on several wrong assumptions:
– Buildings always collapse in earthquakes (wrong- especially in developed nations, and flat “pancake” collapse is rare anywhere);
– When buildings collapse they always crush all furniture inside (wrong- people DO survive under furniture or other shelters);
– People can always anticipate how their building might collapse and anticipate the location of survivable void spaces (wrong- the direction of shaking and unique structural aspects of the building make this nearly impossible) ; and
– During strong shaking people can move to a desired location (wrong- strong shaking can make moving very difficult and dangerous).
According to the Earthquake Country Alliance, some other recommendations in the “triangle of life” e-mail are also based on wrong assumptions and very hazardous. For example, the recommendation to get out of your car during an earthquake and lie down next to it assumes that there is always an elevated freeway above you that will fall and crush your car. Of course there are very few elevated freeways, and lying next to your car is very dangerous because the car can move and crush you, and other drivers may not see you on the ground!
More Information on Drop, Cover, and Hold On at: https://www.shakeout.org/dropcoverholdon/
You should also take the opportunity to check on you emergency preparedness kit to make sure all is supplies are updated. If you don’t have an emergency preparedness kit, take that day to put an emergency preparedness kit together.
** What to have in your emergency preparedness kit?: **
According to the American Red Cross, at a minimum, you should have the basic supplies listed below:
– Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
– Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
– Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
– Extra batteries (Similar item available in the Red Cross Store)
– Deluxe family first aid kit
– Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
– Multi-purpose tool
– Sanitation and personal hygiene items
– Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
– Cell phone with chargers (Similar item available in the Red Cross Store)
– Family and emergency contact information
– Extra cash
– Emergency blanket
– Map(s) of the area
According to the American Red Cross, Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit:
– Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
– Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
– Games and activities for children
– Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
– Two-way radios
– Extra set of car keys and house keys
– Manual can opener
According to the American Red Cross, additional supplies to keep at home or in your survival kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:
– N95 or surgical masks
– Rain gear
– Work gloves
– Tools/supplies for securing your home
– Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
– Plastic sheeting
– Duct tape
– Household liquid bleach
– Entertainment items
– Blankets or sleeping bags
** How to protecting my home or building?: **
According to the American Red Cross, here’s how to protecting my home or building:
– Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs. Have a professional install flexible fittings to avoid gas or water leaks.
– Do not hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, near beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.
– Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.
– Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.
– Place large and heavy objects and breakable items (bottled foods, glass or china) on lower shelves.
– Anchor overhead lighting fixtures to joists.
– Anchor top-heavy, tall and freestanding furniture such as bookcases, china cabinets to wall studs to keep these from toppling over.
– Ask about home repair and strengthening tips for exterior features, such as porches, decks, sliding glass doors, canopies, carports and garage doors.
– Learn about your area’s seismic building standards and land use codes before you begin new construction.
– Have a professional make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation, as well as strengthening tips for exterior features, such as porches, decks, sliding glass doors, canopies, carports and garage doors.
Remember to have a plan practice the plan, prepare an emergency preparedness kit and remain calm; knowing and preparing for an earthquake helps you as well as your family, friends and community better handle the emergency situation, it may also save your life or other people lives. Work together, have a plan so your neighborhood and Community is prepared for any emergency situation.
** More information on earthquake preparedness can be found at the following websites: **
– Earthquake Country Alliance:
– American Red Cross:
** Pictures from the ShakeOut via Twitter and Facebook: **