L.A. Is Having an Earthquake Drill to Prepare People for “the Big One”

A reminder to drop, cover, and hold on, courtesy of the Great ShakeOut

A major earthquake hitting California in the not-so-distant future is practically an inevitability–but with everything else going on in the world in 2018, this looming threat rarely even appears near the top of our anxieties list. For your annual reminder that you do indeed need to be worrying about this, Great ShakeOut will present an awareness day and earthquake drill in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 18.

Outside Los Angeles City Hall, an official drill will be held, led by Mayor Garcetti and other civic leaders. They’ll show attendees what to do in the event that a quake strikes. There will also be a resource fair of organizations that help Angelenos prepare for and recover from natural disasters.

The centerpiece of the City Hall drill will be the Ready America Shake Trailer, an immersive earthquake simulation machine. The simulator is a trailer that mimics a normal home, outfitted with furniture, plants, and other items that could topple and cause injury in a quake. For the drill, participants sit on a couch while the trailer shakes for five seconds with the force of up to an 8.5 magnitude earthquake.

Even if you can’t test out the Shake Trailer, many schools, hospitals, and offices will be participating in a coordinated statewide seismic drill on ShakeOut day. Last year, more than 10 million California residents are estimated to have participated.

If you want to plan a drill for your own workplace or institution, there are extensive resource kits available to download from shakeout.org that are tailored for different locations, age groups, and special needs.

In its simplest form, a ShakeOut drill is about remembering the very basics of how to react should a significant quake begin. If you’ve heard the slogan “stop, drop, and roll” for fire safety, the earthquake version will sound familiar: “drop, cover, and hold on.”

The organization recommends everyone practice how they can carry out those three immediate steps in their home or office. Drop onto your hands and knees and stay low, as this keeps you from falling over in the swaying or being knocked over by debris. Cover your head and neck with an arm and crawl under a sturdy shelter. Hold on tight to whatever sturdy table or wall you’ve got until the shaking ends.

shakeout earthquake prepare drill

Image courtesy FEMA

That formula will cover a lot of circumstances, but not everything. It doesn’t account for individuals in wheelchairs or what happens if you’re driving a car when the quake strikes. If you’re ready to get on that level of preparedness, FEMA and ShakeOut have additional documentation of best practices available online.

RELATED: Get Your Car Earthquake-Ready

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