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Californians ShakeOut for safety
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Businesses, schools and organizations around the state will be shaking it up on Thursday — or at least pretending to as part of the annual public earthquake drill.


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency is encouraging all Californians to participate in the "Great California ShakeOut.” The ShakeOut is the state's annual public earthquake drill, organized by the Earthquake Country Alliance. During the drill, which will be conducted at 10:20 a.m., anyone can practice how to protect themselves during and after a major earthquake — whether at work, at home or at school. As of Tuesday, over 8.4 million Californians have signed up.


“Californians have a strong tradition of practicing earthquake safety and have set a great example for the rest of us about how to prepare for disasters. The ShakeOut drill is a great way to get ready for emergencies and connect with those who are also at risk for an earthquake," said FEMA Regional Administrator Nancy Ward. "As recent earthquakes in Haiti, New Zealand, Japan, and the east coast of the U.S. remind us, earthquakes can strike anytime, anywhere — and often happen without warning.  While we don't know where the next earthquake will strike, preparing for them helps people become more resilient in the face of a real disaster."


California's ShakeOut event continues to grow as the largest earthquake drill in U.S. history.  Participating in the ShakeOut drill is simple and free — and everyone can participate, including businesses, government offices, organizations, neighborhoods, schools, and individuals.   To join, visit and pledge your school, business, or organization's participation in the drill.  Registered participants will receive information on how to plan their drill and how to talk with others about earthquake preparedness.  


Walmart announced on Tuesday that 279 stores across California and four West Coast states will join the drill, making it the largest corporate participant so far.

“The Great California ShakeOut is thrilled to have the participation of Walmart in what will be the largest earthquake drill ever,” said Mark Benthien, executive director of the Earthquake Country Alliance, which organizes the ShakeOut. “As this year’s largest corporate participant, Walmart is demonstrating how seriously they take their responsibility for the safety of their employees, customers and the communities they serve.”

More than 7.9 million Californians participated in 2010, practicing “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” and event organizers believe over 8 million will participate in this year’s drill.

To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.