The Great California ShakeOut: Are you Prepared?

Oct 04, 2009 by Lisa Newton

Join millions of Californians on October 15th 2009 at 10:15am, to participate in the largest earthquake drill ever sponsored by the State. Its name is a bit whimsical; however the subject matter is deadly serious.

The stated and implied goal of participating in the Great California ShakeOut, is to improve your ability to prepare, and also understand the ramifications, if and when such a natural disaster occurs. Its importance in how we’re able to function and survive this force majeure, cannot be overemphasized. The Great California Shakeout instructions and preparedness include how to protect yourself and your loved ones during an earthquake, and afterward as well.

Photo courtesy of USGS

You need to be prepared, because, unfortunately, not being prepared is risky business; because you could be just about anywhere, if and when a catastrophic earthquake occurs — work, school, home, freeway, elevator, car, etc. It’s not really a matter if such an event occurs, it’s when.

Earthquakes and California are synonymous—we have already had several significant ones over the last one hundred years, and the San Andreas Fault line traverses north to south along hundreds of miles–so it pays to know what to do in the midst of and during a natural disaster.

We never know when a major earthquake may occur—we have no way of measuring or anticipating it. But the plain fact of the matter is that “The Big One” is virtually a certainty within the next 100 years. The Big One is measured in degrees and kinds of seismic activity and the infliction of damage measured by the Richter Scale. A Richter Scale’s number isn’t in percentages or the percentage differences between numbers. The difference and degree between Ricther Scale measurements could mean the difference between a city surviving intact or its complete destruction. Indeed knowing what to do after and during an earthquake, can and will save your life, or the lives of your loved ones, despite the event in and of itself.

To best protect you and your family during an earthquake includes:

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

Drop, Cover, and Hold On

Photo courtesy of Southern California Earthquake Center

To obtain additional information to help prepare you for an earthquake, the Great California ShakeOut has written several brochures—they’re free, they’re important, and most importantly they help to save lives:

ShakeOut Drill Manual for K-12 Schools

ShakeOut Drill Manual for Businesses

ShakeOut Drill Manual for Non Profits and Other Organizations

ShakeOut Drill Manual for Government Agencies and Facilities

For business’ interested in having their employees, staff, and management to get involved–you’ll have good company. Other organizations which have already signed up to participate in The Great California ShakeOut include the following:

Southern California Edison

Southern California Earthquake Center


California Science Center

American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles

L. A. Care Health Plan

American Red Cross

Natural History Museum

City of Los Angeles

Community Outreach Promoting Emergency Preparedness

Claremont Chapter, American Red Cross

California Department of Public Health, Drinking Water Program

Southern California Earthquake Center

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

University of Southern California

Emergency Planning Consultants

United States Geological Survey

Earthquake Solutions

Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office

Structural Engineers Association of Southern California

California Emergency Mangement Agency

RPV Neighborhood Watch & Emergency Preparedness


University of Southern California

Weston Mason

Steppingstone Enterprises

LA County Office of Emergency Management

Fire & Disaster Trainng Services

Pearce Global Partners

Area B of Los Angeles County

Office of Assembly Member Bob Blumenfield

United States Geological Survey

RAND Corporation

CB Richard Ellis

Long Beach Peninsula CERT

Armaga Springs Home Owners Association Inc.

Los Angeles Unified School District

Providence San Fernando Valley

Los Angeles County

High Desert CERT

Eagle ScoutParents

California Institute of Technology

Pacific Alliance Medical Center


LW Communications

California Independent System Operator

U.S. Geological Survey and UCLA

Southern California Earthquake Center

SoCalHUG and San Gabriel Valley Chapter of the American Parkinson’s Diease Association

Noah’s Water Fundraising / Eagle ScoutParents ESP

University of Southern California

You still have time. Just click here.

So, when the next major earthquake hits California–as we all know it will–please use the advice of Travelin’ Local and the Great California ShakeOut, practice and be prepared. Because knowledge is always power.

To your good health.

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