Great California ShakeOut

The Great California Shakeout happened Thursday morning

By Sharon Bernstein
|  Thursday, Oct 20, 2011  |  Updated 10:15 AM PDT
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Quake Survival Kits to Go

First graders at Madison Elementary School in Redondo Beach come out from under their desks to evacuate to the playground during the Great ShakeOut 08. Crystal Weller is at right. Photo by Brad Graverson 11-13-08

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Nearly 9 million people say they will participate in the state’s biggest earthquake preparedness drill ever. Throughout the state, students and office workers will “drop, cover and hold on” when The Great California Shakeout was held at 10:20 a.m. Thursday.

Earthquake Section: Maps, Preparedness, Myths

While many will be participating in pre-arranged programs at school and work, families and individuals can also take part at home, state seismic officials say.

At home, families should talk about what might happen if an earthquake shakes the area where they live. Register here to let officials know you are participating. Then, at 10:20 a.m., use this link to play audio of the earthquake drill and instructions that others will be hearing as they take part in the drill.

At 10:20 a.m., consider practicing the following:
  • Drop, Cover, and Hold On: Drop to the ground, take cover under a table or desk, and hold on to it as if a major earthquake were happening. Stay down for at least 60 seconds.
  • While still under the table, or wherever you are, look around and imagine what would happen in a major earthquake. What would fall on you or others? What would be damaged? What would life be like after? What will you do before the actual earthquake happens to reduce losses and quickly recover?
  • Optional) Practice what you will do after the shaking stops.
  • After your drill is complete, have discussions about what was learned and incorporate these lessons into your disaster plan.
The drill is important, said Fred Turner, Seismic Engineer with the California Seismic Safety Commission, because despite years of efforts, most Californians still are not prepared for a major quake. And scientists say that even though they can’t predict just when a big one will strike, it’s definitely on the way.
“We’ve made progress, but it’s incremental and it’s a slow process,” Turner said.  “Dramatic improvements are needed.”

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