The Great California Shake Out is October 20, 2011
Post by: Gina Stone
At 10:20 a.m. Pacific time, over 8.5 million people, including Local, State, and Federal governments, Preparedness Organizations, Colleges and Universities, private businesses and individuals and families will take part in the state’s largest earthquake drill.
While other sections of the country do have their own shake out drills, we do encourage everyone to participate regardless of location. You can never be too prepared, and as we have seen in abundance this year, earthquakes are not just a California occurrence.
Participation can range from a simple “Drop, Cover, Hold” exercise, to an elaborate exercise in responding to injuries and practicing your first aid skills on “injured” earthquake victims. Don’t plan your day around the drill, maintain your normal routine, set your alarm for 10:20 a.m. and take the appropriate actions no matter where you are; after all you don’t know where you will be when a real one strikes. For this drill, we assume the shaking will be major to moderate, and last one full minute in duration.
This means the “shaking” starts at 10:20 a.m. PDT, take cover under a desk or sturdy table, and hold on to it until the “shaking” stops. If you are in your car, as safely as possible pull to the right of the road, away from bridges, overpasses, trees and power lines (DO NOT STOP IN TRAFFIC!) but realize if there were an actual quake, controlling and steering your car may be more difficult. If you are in public, get to an open area, or locate an area that you could take cover in an actual earthquake.
How long you participate and how elaborate your participation is up to you. The most important lesson is to determine where you stand with your earthquake action plan, find out where you need improvement, and review your “after the quake” check lists.
After the quake:
- Check yourself and others for injuries, apply first aid as necessary
- Be Observant: Do you smell gas, see power lines down or arcing, is there water or signs of flooding from a water main break? Is there broken glass?
- Check your surroundings for damage – some damage is not as easy to spot, a home off the foundation is pretty easy, however look for cracks in the walls, especially if they are forming an “X” pattern, this is a sign of significant structural damage.
Do: Turn on your battery powered radio for official instructions and updates
Don’t: Use candles, especially if you smell natural gas. Flashlights and new batteries should be in your emergency kit.
Do: Retrieve your earthquake kit, including food, clothing, and important documents. Send a text message to your out of state contact person to let them know you are OK.
Don’t: Call everyone to see if they felt it/heard about it. Keep the phone lines clear for emergencies. If you are out of the area and checking on loved ones, send a text.
Remember, cell towers may be down or damaged in a major earthquake and communication can be difficult at first.
Once you have run your drill, sit down with your family, co-workers, and friends and have a debriefing. Discuss what you learned and what you observed; did you notice any potential dangers in your area at the time of the drill (unsecured bookshelf, TV, ceiling tiles that could fall)? Did you open any cupboards or closets after the quake? Did you take into account that things may have shifted during the shaking and fall out on you?
What would you do different next time? Was there something that caught you off guard?
Were you realistically able to get to, and move, your emergency kit for use?
All these questions and more will help you 2BeeReady when the real one does strike.
More information on the Great California Shake Out can be found at www.shakeout.org.