An annual disaster preparedness event called “The Great Shakeout” took place on October 19th this year. During this event millions of people around the world participated in earthquake safety training, including the “drop, cover and hold on” protocol that is touted by earthquake safety experts around the world as the most essential thing one can do to avoid injury or death during an earthquake.
During last year’s event more than 55 million people participated in 60 different countries around the world.
Mark Benthien, Global ShakeOut Coordinator and Outreach Director at the Southern California Earthquake Center spoke with Property Casualty 360, saying “Everyone, everywhere should know how to protect themselves in an earthquake. The ongoing fires in Northern California, September’s earthquakes in Mexico, and recent hurricanes remind us that we’re all in this together.”
While most people are aware that it’s only a matter of time before California experiences a devastating earthquake, many think that if they don’t live in California they don’t have to worry about earthquakes! Unfortunately, that conception could not be further from the truth. In fact, according to Lori Dengler, an emeritus professor of geology at Humboldt State University in Northern California:
“There’s not a single part of the United States that can’t have an earthquake, we’re all at risk. The real important thing about Shakeout is developing the muscle memory to do the right thing when the ground is shaking, and the right thing is to basically not move.”.
The idea behind this exercise is to engrain basic earthquake safety tips into the minds of the general public, similar to the way most people understand if there is a fire, they need to stop, drop and roll. During earthquakes, the best thing you can do is drop down and stay stationary.
Hopefully this event helps engrain basic earthquake safety in as many people as possible. We don’t yet have the numbers of how many people attended this year, but the movement seems to be catching on!