Get Ready to Drop, Cover and Hold On During the Great ShakeOut Drill This Thursday

Back in the Fifties, Elvis Presley taught folks how to Shake, Rattle and Roll.

On Thursday, the state of California wants us to Drop, Cover and Hold On.

They might not get a hit single out of their phrase like Elvis did. But they’re hoping the Great Shakeout Drill will be a hit among people concerned about surviving an earthquake.

Many other states, territories and countries are also involved in this international earthquake awareness drill. But it started in Southern California in 2008, making this year the 10th annual event.

10:18 am on 10/18 – Millions Will Participate

Approximately 10.5 million people worldwide participated in the Great ShakeOut Drill in 2017. This year, event officials are predicting a higher number will be involved.

The Great ShakeOut Drill is scheduled for 10:18 a.m. Pacific time. So, 10:18 a.m. on 10/18. Should be easy to remember, right?

No matter where they are or what they are doing, participants will drop, cover and hold on. As if a major earthquake were occurring at that moment. And they will hold that position for at least 60 seconds.

In other words, Drop to the ground. Take Cover by getting underneath a sturdy desk or table. And Hold On until the shaking stops.

Quakes Occur All Over the World

The organizers of the drill emphasize that they are NOT predicting an earthquake to occur at 10:18 a.m. on Thursday.

They say the goal of this program is to make sure people know exactly what to do in the case of a real earthquake.

It’s not surprising that California is at the forefront of this movement. This state has a higher risk of earthquakes than others.

But quakes occur all around the globe, including the U.S. Midwest and Eastern Seaboard.

At Least a Half Million Per Year

An earthquake is usually caused by the rupture of a geological fault. But it can also be caused by volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts and nuclear tests.

An average of 500,000 to 900,000 earthquakes occur around the world each year. Approximately one-fifth of them can be felt by humans.

Measured on the Richter scale, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 to 7.9 is considered “major.” An 8.0 quake or higher is considered “great.”

The U.S. Geological Society estimates that since 1900 there has been an average of one great and 18 major earthquakes per year.

Quakes Happen Without Warning

In addition to the massive amount of damage an earthquake can cause, one of the scariest things about a quake is how quickly it occurs.

We can see a storm brewing. And we usually receive plenty of advance notice if a hurricane is approaching. But an earthquake seemingly comes out of nowhere.

Still, there are preparations you can make. Knowing what to do before, during and after an earthquake could save the lives of you and your family members.

As with other potential crises, you should have an emergency response plan in place in case an earthquake occurs near you.

Before an Earthquake

Here are four things you can do in advance to make yourself ready for an earthquake:

  • Practice your disaster plan with family members.
  • If you live in an area where earthquakes are common or even occasional, make sure your shelves are fastened securely to walls. And breakables should be in cabinets that latch shut. Heavier objects should be on lower shelves and rollers off your heavy furniture.
  • Know where your utility shut-off switches are in the house, and keep bug-out bags near an exit.
  • Don’t buy into earthquake myths. Door frames are not safe to stand under, earthquakes do not always occur in the morning and sheltering next to sturdy furniture is not better than sheltering under it.

During an Earthquake

Following are four steps you can take during an earthquake:

  • Shield yourself immediately, whether indoors or out. Get under sturdy furniture. If in bed, cover your head with a pillow and hang on.
  • If you’re indoors, stay away from windows, shelves and hanging fixtures. Get under a desk if you’re near one.
  • If you’re outdoors, stay clear of buildings, trees and utility poles. Plus streetlights and construction equipment.
  • If you’re in a vehicle, stop as soon as you’re away from tall objects. Stay in the car and try to avoid bridges and ramps.

After an Earthquake

Below are four actions you can take to avoid injury after a quake has already struck:

  • Listen to emergency radio. Pay attention to mainstream media reports about the damage in your area.
  • Don’t assume you are now safe. Structures loosened or uprooted during the quake may still be standing. But they could fall at any moment. And aftershocks can occur that are just as destructive as the original quake.
  • Meet family members or co-workers in a safe place to make sure everyone is OK. And to make any necessary plans to deal with the aftermath.
  • Watch out for hanging wires, fires, gas leaks, falling glass and uneven ground.

When an earthquake hits, there may only be seconds to react in time. Practicing ahead of time helps you be ready to respond in the moment. This week’s Great ShakeOut Drill is an important reminder to have a plan in place before the next disaster strikes.

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