On October 17, 2013 at 10:17 a.m. (local time), individuals, families, schools, businesses, nonprofits, governments, organizations and groups across the North America and around the world will participate in the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill.
The ShakeOut is an opportunity to practice how to protect ourselves during earthquakes. Federal, state, and local emergency management experts and other official preparedness organizations all agree that “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” is the appropriate action to reduce injury and death during earthquakes.
ShakeOut also has been organized to encourage everyone to update emergency plans and supplies, and to secure your space in order to prevent damage and injuries.
So how do I participate?
ShakeOut.org explains most people will practice how they will Drop, Cover, and Hold On during a large earthquake, which only takes about one minute. Some organizations conduct more extensive drills, which may take an hour or even all day. How to participate is your choice. For example, some ideas include…
Plan Your Drill:
- Register at www.ShakeOut.org/register to be counted as participating, get email updates, and more.
- Download a Drill Broadcast recording from www.ShakeOut.org/drill/broadcast .
- Have a “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” drill at 10:17 a.m. on October 17. You can also practice other aspects of your emergency plan.
- Discuss what you learned and make improvements.
Get Prepared for Earthquakes:
- Do a “hazard hunt” for items that might fall during earthquakes and secure them.
- Create a personal or family disaster plan.
- Organize or refresh your emergency supply kits.
- Identify and correct any issues in your home’s structure.
- Other actions are at www.earthquakecountry.org.
Share the ShakeOut:
- Have a neighborhood party to discuss preparedness, and register for the ShakeOut.
- Invite friends and family members to register.
- Encourage your community, employer, or other groups you are involved with to participate.
- Share photos and stories of your drill at www.Shakeout.org/share
What is Drop, Cover, Hold On?
According to the Southern California Earthquake Center, the greatest danger is from falling and flying objects. Studies of injuries and deaths caused by earthquakes over the last several decades show that you are much more likely to be injured by falling or flying objects (TVs, lamps, glass, bookcases, etc.) than to die in a collapsed building. “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” will protect you from most of these injuries.
- DROP down onto your hands and knees (before the earthquakes knocks you down). This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.
- COVER your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, only then should you get down near an interior wall (or next to low-lying furniture that won’t fall on you), and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
- HOLD ON to your shelter (or to your head and neck) until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.
What NOT to do during an earthquake:
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 believe the so-called “triangle of life”! In recent years, an e-mail has circulated which has recommends potentially life threatening actions , and the source has been discredited by leading experts. Visit Earthquake Country Alliance to find statements, articles and other materials refuting this theory.
Learn more about the Great ShakeOut and find drill manuals, flyers, games and many other resources at www.shakeout.org
Also check out our Earthquakes 101 post describing some basic science about quakes and things you can do to prepare for them.