Friday, November 07, 2008

Drop, cover and hold on

When the ground shakes, rattles and rolls — drop, cover and hold on. That’s the guidance from the organizers of next week’s Great Southern California ShakeOut, designed to help residents prepare for a big earthquake.

A major earthquake is an inevitable part of Southern California's future, earthquake experts say, though no one knows when the big one will hit. With 22 million people living and working in the region, such a natural disaster could result in catastrophe.

To help people prepare, millions of Southern Californians are expected to participate Nov. 13 in the largest earthquake drill in U.S. history. The drill centers on the ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario, which outlines a hypothetical 7.8 magnitude earthquake — similar to the 2008 one in China — and could devastate the region.

The key to minimizing damage from a massive earthquake is for people to be prepared. In addition to creating disaster plans and supply kits, Southern Californians are being asked to "drop, cover and hold on" during the drill. According to event organizers, the best thing to do during an earthquake is to drop to the ground, take cover under a sturdy desk or table and hold on until the shaking stops.

These are general guidelines, of course If you're in bed, driving or in other situations, you'll need to take other actions, the details of which are outlined on the Great Southern California ShakeOut Web site.

If you live in Southern California, pledge to take part in the drill this Thursday and register now online. You'll receive information on how to plan your drill, connect with other participants and talk with others about earthquake preparedness. There's also lots of earthquake preparedness information on the Great Southern California ShakeOut Web site. So if you live in a earthquake-risk area, here's your chance to get ready. Let's shake on it.

Have you ever been in an earthquake? Share your experience by commenting on this blog entry.

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