PALMDALE – The city of Palmdale’s employees joined millions of people around California Thursday morning in the Great California ShakeOut – the largest earthquake preparedness drill in U.S. history.
At 10:18 a.m., workers hit the ground, got underneath the nearest desk or table, and held on tight for 60 seconds.
“It was to help people understand the best things to do to protect themselves if we do experience an earthquake, so that they don’t get injured by falling debris or things toppling around them,” said Palmdale’s Public Safety and Community Relations Director Anne Ambrose. “It’s basically three simple steps: Dropping to the ground, covering your head and getting under something protective, like a table or a desk, and holding on.”
In California, more than 9.9 million people in homes, schools, workplaces and other organizations took part in the earthquake safety drill.
Several earthquake-prone states, United States territories and countries, such as Italy and Canada, also took part in Thursday’s Shakeout, according to data on the Shakeout website.
“It only took a few minutes, and it’s very simple information, but if we don’t practice it and don’t think about it, when the time comes we may not be as prepared,” Ambrose said.
California is widely known as “earthquake country,” and experiences earthquakes as large as the 1994 Northridge or 1989 Loma Prieta quakes (or larger) twice each decade, on average.
There is a 50% chance of a magnitude 7.5 or greater earthquake somewhere in California in the next 30 years (www.scec.org/ucerf).
While some areas and certain faults have a higher chance of earthquakes than others, the risk anywhere in California is high when compared to most areas of the country.
“These are small steps that we can all take to increase our preparedness and our resiliency to survive a disaster,” Ambrose said. “The more small steps that we can take with our families and our coworkers, the better we as a community will be able to ride out whatever kind of disaster comes to us.”
If you did not take part in the Great California Shakeout Thursday, you can still practice the drill at home. Practice by viewing the video below, or read a complete guide on earthquake safety actions here.