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Get ready to ‘drop, cover and hold’ Thursday for the Great California ShakeOut Drill

As if wildfires and a worldwide pandemic weren’t enough to worry about, Californians must also remain constantly vigilant about the always-looming threat of earthquakes.

So the state’s residents must get some practice time in.

The annual Great California ShakeOut Drill is set for Thursday, Oct. 15, and will give millions of Southern California residents — along with the rest of the state and beyond — a chance to practice their safety techniques in case of a major earthquake hits.

As of Tuesday, more than 2.3 million Los Angeles County residents had registered at ShakeOut.org to participate in the drill to “drop, cover and hold” — along with nearly 500,000 in Orange County and 70,000 in Ventura County.

More than 27 million people had already signed on for the exercise worldwide.

“Damaging earthquakes can strike at any time, and the Great California ShakeOut drill is an important reminder of what we need to do in order to survive and recover,” California Earthquake Authority CEO Glenn Pomeroy said in a Monday statement. “Earthquakes are a reality, but they don’t have to be devastating; strengthen your home now and get prepared.”

At 10:15 a.m., participants — including students, government workers, business employees and families — will be instructed to drop to the ground, take cover under a desk, table or other sturdy surface and hold on for 60 seconds, as if a major earthquake were occurring.

Those who have downloaded the MyShake application to their phone will receive a test warning with similar guidance.

“We have come a long way since ShakeOut began in 2008,” Mark Benthien, Global ShakeOut coordinator and outreach director for USC’s Southern California Earthquake Center, said in a statement earlier this month. “More people have not only been practicing earthquake safety, but also securing furniture and objects around them, discussing safety plans, and even retrofitting their homes. For 2020, they are also adapting their drill plans because of COVID-19.”

With the coronavirus pandemic keeping many residents in their homes, Pomeroy said, it’s good to practice earthquake readiness in other environments — especially with families.

“With our health care system already stressed by COVID-19,” he said, “we all need to take steps to keep ourselves safe when the ground shakes.”

During an actual earthquake, people who are outdoors should find a clear spot away from trees, power lines and other objects that could topple over. People who are driving should pull over to a clear area, stop and stay seated with their seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. When the quake ends, motorists should proceed with caution and avoid bridges or ramps that may have been damaged.

For a full list of participants across Los Angeles County or to register: shakeout.org/california.

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Source: Orange County Register

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