Shakeout Drill Mitigates Earthquake Risk

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Nov. 13, 2008: Students of Stevenson Elementary School drop, cover and hold on during the region-wide simulation of an expected catastrophic 7.8 magnitude earthquake on the San Andreas Fault during the Great Southern California ShakeOut earthquake drill.

    There was no earthquake on Thursday, but that didn't stop more than a million Bay Area residents from pretending.

    An earthquake drill at 10:21am put Californians through the paces. Participants knelt under desks and held on tight, just as you should during an actual quake.

    Earthquakes strike fast and without warning, so it's important to practice and be prepared. That's especially true in light of predictions by experts that a high-magnitude quake will hit the region sometime in the next 30 years.

    Politicians like Fiona Ma participated by crouching under her desk. A staffer stood above and took her photo, then sent it out to followers via Twitter. Expect to see that photo anytime frequently in the future -- basically, anyone wants to make Assemblywoman Ma look silly.

    For their part, BART stopped their trains for a minute. The agency took advantage of the opportunity to thank its customers for approving a bond measure that allowed them to improve safety.

    Although public figures and organizations had high visibility, plenty of ordinary citizens participated as well. And of course, there were lots and lots of people who simply had no idea what was happening, or didn't care. Well, they'd better not come crying to us for granola bars or distilled water when the big one hits.