City facilities take part in Great ShakeOut earthquake drills, evacuations

Education Facilitator Sarah Ramirez, left, and student Dylan Manguy, 5, take cover under a desk as they participate in The Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill at the City of Santa Clarita Valencia Library held at 10:18 AM in Valencia on Thursday, October, 18, 2018. (Photo by Dan Watson)
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The first time Kentucky native Anthony Hayes experienced an earthquake was in 2014 in Los Angeles, a small temblor that woke him up during the early morning hours.

“It was a mini rumble, but it was my first time experiencing one, and it blew my mind,” he said.

On Thursday, the memory returned when he heard to “drop, cover and hold on” during a study session at the Old Town Newhall Library. The audio, which played at 10:18 a.m. in several city facilities, was part of the Great ShakeOut, a worldwide earthquake drill practice that started in Southern California in 2008.

The brief broadcast instructs all those listening to stop what they’re doing and take cover under something sturdy to protect from objects that could be thrown across the room.

“A librarian gave me some tips and told me to find cover under something that isn’t moving and to protect my head,” Hayes said after the drill ended. “I mostly remember practicing drills in grade school for tornadoes but the ones like today help people wake up and be aware of what can happen.”

Even toddlers had the chance to practice on Thursday. Children’s Services Librarian Lauren Frazier at the Valencia Public Library led them and their parents in a “shaking song and dance” during story time.

“When the alarm went off, I read the Great ShakeOut transcript and mimicked to the toddlers what to do if they were able to duck, cover and hold on,” she said. 

Children’s Services Librarian Lauren Frazier, left, leads babies, toddlers and parents in a “shaking song and dance” during story time which took place at 10:18 AM and during The Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill at the City of Santa Clarita Valencia Library in Valencia on Thursday, October, 18, 2018. (Photo by Dan Watson)

Over at city hall, employees participated in a building-wide evacuation to the parking lot, with departments ensuring everyone had evacuated safely and had emergency supplies. Building inspectors conducted a safety inspection after people left the building, according to Mayumi Miyasato, communications specialist with the city.

William S. Hart Union High School District schools held drills and evacuations today, some were conducted days prior and others are planned for a future date, according to Dave Caldwell, the district’s public relations officer.

The Los Angeles Fire Department, which also held its earthquake drill, recommends the public to “always have a plan, have emergency supplies readily available at home and call the fire department with any questions,” said Vanessa Lozano, the department’s public information assistant.

Officials with the Earthquake Country Alliance recommend avoiding standing in a doorway, running outside or to other rooms during shaking and to not get in the “triangle of life,” which advices to get next to a large, bulky object rather than underneath a table.

For more information on this and other tips to protect oneself during an earthquake, visit  

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