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People ‘drop, cover and hold on’ across the state in earthquake drill

POSTED October 19, 2009 3:15 p.m.

People in all 58 counties of California took part in the largest earthquake drill in U.S. history on Thursday.
More than 6.8 million people, in every corner of California and in schools, businesses, state, county and city offices, non-profit organizations, fire departments and other communities followed earthquake safety instructions to “drop, cover and hold on” at 10:15 a.m. Thursday in the first statewide earthquake drill.
“The ShakeOut drill helps people and organizations practice how to be safe during earthquakes, and also to improve their preparedness,” said Mark Benthien, executive director of the Earthquake Country Alliance and director for communications of the Southern California Earthquake Center.
The number of participants who registered with event organizers by Wednesday included 5 million K-12 school participants, 951,000 college and university participants, 202,000 business participants, 295,000 other organization participants, 246,000 local government agency participants, 27,000 state agency participants, 63,000 federal agency participants and 12,000 individual or family participants.                                                       Last year, 5.4 million people participated in the Great Southern California ShakeOut. The drill is now statewide, and will present an annual opportunity to improve preparedness and practice protective actions.
The Earthquake Country Alliance, the coalition that has organized the drill, includes leaders in disaster response, science, business, media, education, government and local communities. Major organizations represented include the California Emergency Management Agency, Southern California Earthquake Center, United States Geological Survey, California Earthquake Authority, California Department of Education, American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, State Farm Insurance, Ready America, and many others.
The Alliance encourages all Californians to:
— prepare for earthquakes;
—practice how to protect against earthquake injury (drop, cover, and hold on); and
— learn how to recover quickly by safeguarding property and finances in advance.
“Drop, Cover and Hold On” is the recommended procedure in an earthquake. People should quickly get under a heavy table or desk to avoid being hit by falling objects – or get on the ground next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms. People can learn what to do, no matter where they are when the earthquake strikes, at Regional information, such as details about earthquake hazards and much more can be accessed using a clickable California map on
All areas of California have experienced earthquakes in the past and there are hundreds of faults throughout the state that can have large earthquakes. A 2008 report ( estimates that there is a 50 percent chance of a magnitude 7.5 or greater earthquake somewhere in California anytime in the next 30 years. While some areas are less likely than others to have such earthquakes, residents in those areas may visit more active areas. So everyone should know what to do during strong shaking.
This is a good time, as well, for people to review their financial preparation. Everyone should have cash on hand and copies of account numbers and insurance policies handy.
“Many people don’t realize that a general homeowners or renters policy does not cover earthquake damage,” said Glenn Pomeroy, CEO of the California Earthquake Authority, which is part of the ECA. “People should call their own insurance agent, or go to the CEA Web site (, to view a list of participating insurance companies who sell earthquake insurance. The time to think about these preparations is now, not after the next big earthquake when it may be too late.”

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