Public Safety

ShakeOut Drill Prepares Participants for Earthquake Response and Safety

Students practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On as part of the Great California ShakeOut.
Students practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On as part of the Great California ShakeOut.

More than 900,000 individuals, businesses and organizations in San Diego County are registered to drop, cover and hold on at 10:18 a.m. on Thursday 10/18 for the Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill.

On a worldwide scale, ShakeOut organizers say millions of people will take part in the drill.

The San Diego County Office of Emergency Services and San Diego County Fire and CAL FIRE San Diego encourage all San Diego County residents and visitors alike to register for ShakeOut, practice what to do during an earthquake and learn what to do before and after one.

“Even if you cannot participate in the drill on Thursday, you can still register and practice your response at home with your family, when it is more convenient to you. While you’re at it, review your disaster plan and check emergency supplies,” said Stephen Rea, assistant director for the County Office of Emergency Services. “We live in a state that is known for earthquakes, and while we cannot predict earthquakes, scientists say one is overdue on the southern segment of the San Andreas fault.”

Tony Mecham, County Fire and CAL FIRE San Diego Unit Chief, adds, “By learning what to do during an earthquake and practicing at work, school and home, it gives everyone a better chance of survival and improves recovery time. First responders may be unable to get to households in a large-scale disaster and that’s why people need to have basic supplies such as food and water at home.”

Drop, cover and hold on is the protective action recommended by federal, state and local emergency preparedness organizations as the best way to avoid or reduce injury during an earthquake. If indoors, seek cover under a desk or table, or if one is not in the area, sit against an interior wall away from glass and heavy furniture and protect your head. Do not run outside if shaking begins. But if you’re already outdoors, try to find a clear area and sit down and protect your head. Move away from building exteriors, trees, power lines if possible. For more specific situations and video demonstrations, visit the Earthquake Country Alliance.

The ShakeOut drill can be conducted in as little as 90 seconds. After your drill, look around your surroundings at work or at home to see what items might fall down or topple over during intense shaking and cause injury, then secure furniture and wall hangings to prevent the hazard.

Drill tips and information resources are available on the ShakeOut website. Free family disaster plan templates are also available on www.ReadySanDiego.org in multiple languages. The templates include a list of important items to assemble in your disaster emergency kit.

Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact