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October 12, 2017
Earthquake preparedness event set for October 19

On October 19, there will be a whole lot of simulated shaking going on as businesses and organizations around the country participate in The Great ShakeOut, an effort to prepare for earthquakes. At work, at school, or at home, individuals will be urged to drop, cover, and hold on at 10:19 a.m., as if a major earthquake were actually occurring, and remain in position for at least 60 seconds. According to The Great ShakeOut website, earthquakes can happen anytime, anywhere.

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The annual event is planned by a coalition of private and government groups, including FEMA. Last year’s event involved more than 15 million participants. There will be no freeway closures, power outages, or other simulated effects of a hypothetical earthquake

Staying safe in a quake

When at work and the earth starts shaking, the critical steps for life safety are:

  • Drop onto your hands and knees to avoid being knocked down by shaking.
  • Cover your head with your arms (as best as possible).
  • Hold on to your neck with your hands.

If you are near a table or desk, crawl under it and hold on to your shelter with one hand. If needed, move with your shelter until the shaking stops. If there is no nearby shelter, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows and other hazards).

Other relatively simple, but essential preparation tips include the following:

  • Move heavy items onto lower shelves.
  • Lock storage cabinets and file cabinets when not in use.
  • Do not stack boxes or have open shelves near exits.
  • Keep space cleared under desks so employees can drop, cover, and hold on if needed.
  • Secure laptops or other items that can easily fall.
  • Back up computers regularly.

Businesses can register and learn more about the event at You’ll also find a “ShakeOut at Your Workplace” video to help drill coordinators and participants plan the experience. A resources page offers flyers, graphics, and additional videos.

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