On the 30th anniversary of the destructive Loma Prieta Earthquake, which rocked the Bay Area in 1989, the state of California will hold its annual Great California ShakeOut in an effort to prepare Californians for future natural disasters.
On Thursday, Oct. 17, at 10:17 a.m., participating cities, organizations and citizens across the state will participate in the 12th annual drill that aims to help residents practice their “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” skills.
A natural catastrophe could strike at any time with very little warning, according to the city’s Chief Resilience Officer Lindsay Call, who spoke on earthquake safety at a recent community event hosted at the Santa Monica Public Library.
Alongside Margaret Vinci from the Caltech Office of Earthquake Programs, Call discussed modern earthquake science, early warning technologies like ShakeAlert and the different programs in the city that help people prepare themselves for the next natural disaster.
“We did a show and tell of different disaster kit items that people should have and we discussed CERT — our Community Emergency Response Team,” Call said, describing the program as a community-based group of volunteers who completed a training course taught by local public safety personnel and first responders.
The training is a comprehensive program detailing the best ways to assist family, friends, neighbors and other members of your community during small or large scale disasters, according to the CERT website, and the next class is scheduled to be held on Jan. 25, Feb. 1, and Feb. 8.
“So people are encouraged to register for that,” Call said, or they can join a group called, “S.M.O.A.I.D., which stands for Santa Monica Organizations Active in Disasters (and) is a coalition of businesses, nonprofits and community organizations working together before disaster events to create ways for the community to be prepared.” There’s also an organized group who helps during the response as well.
“The reason we hosted the presentation at the main library was we just installed an early earthquake warning system,” Call said, so if it’s suspected that the vibrations from an earthquake will be large enough cause damage in Santa Monica, then an overhead page will go off in the library alerting patrons to stop, cover and hold on.
There may be an opportunity test it out during the coming Great California Shakeout — an event Call strongly encouraged the community to participate in.
“No matter if you’re in a household, a business or school, we encourage everyone to take an opportunity this Thursday at 10:17 (a.m.) to stop, take a look around and identify where you would be most safe after an earthquake. Most of the time that means dropping, covering and holding on to a sturdy table or desk,” Call said, adding, “We expect in the big one that shaking could last for 2 minutes so it’s important to consider the need to protect oneself from falling glass,” as well as the possible aftershocks, fires, transportation and utility disruptions that could arise should a strong quake strike the area.
Many more resources and information about the Great California ShakeOut can be found online at shakeout.org/california, according to Call. The city is also encouraging the public to post pictures of the coming drill and use the hashtag “SMPrepared.”