18Oct 2017

The Earth Quakes and the Building Shakes. Where is the Safest Place to Go?

Hint: it’s not the doorway.

For years we were told to stand in a doorway during an earthquake, but that’s not the right answer. What about running outside? That’s not right either. With California experiencing on average 50 earthquakes measuring 4.0 or above per year (almost one per week) it’s critical you and your employees know what to do.

And, what you and your employees need to do is Drop, Cover, and Hold On.

On October 19, 10 million people across California will be practicing this technique during the Great ShakeOut

At exactly 10:19 am that morning, we’ll stop what we’re doing, hit the ground, and crawl under the nearest table or desk. Drop, Cover, and Hold On is considered the safest and most effective response to an earthquake. So much so, the technique is used worldwide, not just in California.

Here’s how it works:

When the ground shakes, DROP to your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked over by falling debris. It also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby.

COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand.

  • If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter.
  • Drop to the ground, get under a table or desk, hold onto a part of the table or desk.If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall, away from windows.
  • Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs.

HOLD ON until the shaking stops.

  • Hold on to your shelter (table, desk). Grab a table leg or any other part you can hold onto with one hand. Be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts.
  • If no shelter is available, hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

This year, the Great ShakeOut takes place just two days after the 28th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake that struck the San Francisco Bay Area. Taking time out of the workday to practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On helps you and your employees perfect the best possible response the next time an earthquake strikes. You might even consider doing this drill at your workplace several times throughout the year.

Remember, it’s not a matter of if but when then next big earthquake will strike in California.

For more information on earthquake preparedness and response, visit the California Earthquake Authority and the Earthquake Country Alliance.

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