Earthquake Preparedness Great California ShakeOut – Drop, Cover, and Hold On
The countdown begins to the Great California ShakeOut event scheduled every year on the third Thursday of October. This year’s ShakeOut, October 15, is an opportune time to review your earthquake preparedness plan and to schedule a drill to practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On.
Why rescuers and experts recommend Drop, Cover, and Hold On:
- Moving during an earthquake puts you at risk: Immediately dropping to the ground allows you a chance to protect yourself. Otherwise, the earthquake may forcibly drop you, which may disorient you from taking the next steps to further protect yourself.
- Falling and flying objects pose a great danger during an earthquake: If you are unable to seek cover under furniture and hold on, then lower yourself next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.
When an earthquake strikes, the following procedures are recommended to reduce your chance of injury:
DROP where you are onto your hands and knees.
COVER your head and neck.
If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, then crawl underneath it for shelter.
If furniture is unavailable, then crawl next to an interior wall away from windows, stay on your knees and cover your head and neck.
HOLD ON until the shaking stops.
If you are under a table or desk, hold on to a furniture leg with one hand and use your other arm to cover your head and neck.
If you are next to an interior wall, then stay on your knees and use both arms and hands to protect your head and neck.
This is also the time to review and evaluate work areas to confirm bookcases and cabinets are secured to walls, items stored on top of cabinets are removed and stored properly, and chemicals are stored in secured cabinets. Additionally, check your earthquake supplies. Discard expired items and replace accordingly, and confirm staff knows the location(s) of the earthquake supplies.
After the drill, update your emergency preparedness plan and procedures based on lessons learned from the ShakeOut exercise. Review the updated plans and procedures with all staff.
Practice, practice, practice! Practicing reinforces behavior. You will be more likely to react quickly when shaking begins if you have actually practiced how to protect yourself on a regular basis. Although California holds an annual Great Shakeout event, it is beneficial to practice drills throughout the year to reinforce responsive and safe behavior to an emergency.
- CaliforniaJPIA Library
- CaliforniaJPIA Emergency Preparedness & Fire Extinguisher Safety Training
- Earthquake Protective Action Po6stcard.pdf
- Earthquake Country Alliance
- OSHA’s Earthquake Preparedness and Response
- Dept. of Homeland Security ReadyCheck-Earthquakes
- American Red Cross