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Get Ready for Earthquakes with the ‘Great ShakeOut’

In one week, at least 9.3 million people across the country are going to take part in the “Great ShakeOut” earthquake drill.

Photo by County of San Diego.
Photo by County of San Diego.
Don’t downplay the importance of being prepared for an earthquake. It could save your life and the lives of your family and friends.

In one week, at least 9.3 million people across the country are going to take part in the “Great ShakeOut” earthquake drill. At exactly, 10:17 a.m. on 10/17, Thursday, people will “Drop, Cover and Hold on!” at businesses, homes and schools to practice how they would respond in an earthquake.

Are you registered? Would you and your friends and family know what to do to keep from being hurt?

“The most important thing people can do to prevent or at least minimize injuries is to check your home for hazards – in this case that means securing items that could fall and injure people at home. And create an emergency plan and supplies kit, just like we do for wildfires.” said Holly Crawford, director of the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services. “It is also critical that everyone know and practice Drop, Cover and Hold on since this is considered the best advice by earthquake experts.”

A major earthquake along the Rose Canyon Fault could devastate the region. The fault runs along La Jolla and downtown San Diego, both considered main economic hubs and population centers, and shaking from a major event could result in significant impacts throughout the region.  The maximum credible event on the Rose Canyon is magnitude 7.2.

Earthquakes often cause cascading effects such as landslides, utility interruption, hazardous materials incidents, dam failure, transportation infrastructure interruption, and fires.  There are numerous known earthquake faults in and around San Diego County, both on and offshore.

Most injuries in earthquakes are caused by falling or flying objects and can be prevented.

"It truly is all about being prepared for the next earthquake to hit our region," said Tony Young, CEO for the American Red Cross San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter. "By being prepared, we can all contribute to how well our family, neighbors and businesses respond to and recover from the next disaster. Get a kit, make a plan, and get trained - it can help everyone."

  • When you feel the earth shaking, Drop, Cover and Hold On! until the shaking stops.
  • Take steps at home to secure items such as water heaters, heavy furniture and glass items using braces, straps, or museum wax or gel so they won’t pose a hazard during shaking.
  • Practice the best responses during an earthquake with everyone at home, then consider where you will take shelter at work or other places you frequent.
  • Have a plan for emergencies and go over it with your family. A template is available at ReadySanDiego.org  by clicking on the Family tab.
  • Have emergency provisions such as water, non-perishable food, first aid items, flashlights, batteries, prescribed medications, cash, and an emergency radio on hand. A list is also available on the ReadySanDiego site as well as other earthquake safety tips.

By taking these steps, residents also reduce the chances of secondary effects such as a fire. During the 1994 Northridge earthquake, many fires were started when water heaters fell over or buildings were shaken off their foundations, rupturing gas lines. Firefighters had a difficult time putting out the fires due to low water pressure.  

In San Diego County, more than 818,400 people have already registered to participate and learn how to prepare for an earthquake. Please visit ShakeOut.org, register yourself and your family and encourage your friends to do the same.

-County of San Diego news release


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