WEST HOLLYWOOD—Following recognition of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) “National Preparedness Month” in September, West Hollywood will participate in the Great California ShakeOut Earthquake Drill on Thursday, October 20 at 10:20 a.m.  Community members are encouraged to join the more-than-eight-million participants who are registered for the drill throughout the state.

The Great California ShakeOut Earthquake Drill is part of International ShakeOut Day, which is acknowledged globally each year on the third Thursday of October. Everyone – everywhere on the planet – should know how to protect themselves during earthquakes. Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills are an annual opportunity for people in homes, schools, businesses, and organizations to practice what to do during earthquakes and to improve emergency preparedness.

During the self-led drill, participants are urged to practice how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” Endorsed by first responders and emergency officials, the safest response to an earthquake is to immediately:

-Drop where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby;

-Cover your head and neck with one arm and hand;

  1. a) If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath for shelter;
  2. b) If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows); and
  3. c) Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs;
  • Hold On until shaking stops;

-Under shelter: hold on to it with one hand and be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts; and

-No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

The city of West Hollywood reported in a press release that while most of California’s earthquakes are small in magnitude and cause little or no damage, the state experiences more than 100 earthquakes per day. Many notable shakers caused significant damage such as the 6.7 Northridge earthquake in 1994, and the 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake in Northern California during the 1989 baseball World Series.

Scientists have indicated that a large magnitude, damaging earthquake is likely to strike along California’s San Andreas Fault within the next 30 years. Damaging earthquakes can occur at any time wherever we work, live, or travel within the region and beyond.

The Great California ShakeOut Earthquake Drill is free and anyone can take participate. Participants include individuals, schools, businesses, local and state government agencies, and many other groups. To take part in the Great California ShakeOut, individuals, groups, and organizations are asked to register at www.shakeout.org/california.

Once registered, participants will receive regular information about how to plan a drill and how to become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters. Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills will also take place in locations throughout the nation and in several countries. More than 14.6 million people around the globe are anticipated to participate.

Knowing how to prepare for – and survive – a major earthquake will be critical in California at some time in the coming years. Prepare in advance by:

-Planning on fending for yourself for at least three days, preferably for one week. Electricity, water, gas, and telephones may not be working after an earthquake. Law enforcement and fire personnel are likely to be occupied with emergencies.

-Stocking your emergency supplies. You’ll need food and water (one gallon each day per person); a first-aid kit; a fire extinguisher suitable for all types of fires; flashlights; a portable radio; extra batteries, blankets, clothes, -shoes, and cash (ATMs may not work); medication; an adjustable or pipe wrench to turn off gas or water, if necessary; baby food and pet food; and an alternate cooking source (barbecue or camp stove). This list can also be applied to other disasters, such as floods or wildfires.

-Deciding in advance how and where your family will reunite if separated during an earthquake. Do in-home practice drills. You might choose an out-of-the-area friend or relative that family members can call to check on you.

-Securing hazards and big appliances. This includes water heaters, major appliances, and tall/heavy furniture to prevent items from toppling. Additional hazards include storing flammable liquids and heavy objects. Breakables on low shelves and in cabinets should be secured.

-Discussing earthquake insurance with your agent. Depending on your financial situation and the value of your home, earthquake insurance may be a worthwhile investment.

Additional information and resources are available by visiting the Great California ShakeOut website at www.shakeout.org/california.

For more details contact Margarita Kustanovich, West Hollywood’s Emergency Management Coordinator, at (323) 848-6419 or at mkustanovich@weho.org. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, call TTY (323) 848-6496.