Santa Clarita Valley prepares for ShakeOut earthquake drill

Sam Heyrat, left, and John Pears get under the table during The Great California ShakeOut, a state-wide earthquake drill, at Valencia Library on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. The two are members of Angel Wings Agency, a local group that supports people with disabilities. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Santa Clarita Valley residents will join more than 50 million people across the world in practicing how to “drop, cover and hold on” at 10:18 a.m. Thursday for the Great ShakeOut.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the worldwide earthquake drill practice that started in Southern California in 2008, in which the city of Santa Clarita has since joined in on by training the community at various facilities.

Participation is essential, said Donna Nuzzi, emergency services supervisor with the city.

“The main focus is to reinforce behavior not to run but to find a place that’s secure, so you don’t get injured,” she said.

City facilities where one can practice the drill include Santa Clarita Public Library branches and community centers, where staff members are scheduled to play an audio recording encouraging attendees to practice taking cover.

At City Hall only, an evacuation drill is set to follow the drop, cover and hold portion. Nuzzi said building inspectors plan to do a safety inspection of the building while participants wait in the parking lot.

“We are practicing all levels,” she said, to best simulate earthquake devastation and its aftermath.

Businesses and several schools including at Canyon and Saugus high schools are scheduled to participate in the drill as well.

Organizations like the Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control have already released reminders to pet owners to “include your pets in your emergency plans” by creating an evacuation plan and preparing a stay-at-home and on-the-go-kit with pet supplies and copies of vaccinations and licenses.

Last year councilman Bill Miranda led a group of children and parents evacuate a library and told those present, “The lessons learned from 1994 were immeasurable. We thought we were prepared, and we were not. Emergencies do not hit in ideal circumstances.”

For the 10th anniversary, he and the rest of the City Council are encouraging the public to “drop, cover and hold on.”

Here is a seven-step guide the Earthquake Country Alliance recommends to follow to stay safe before, during and after an earthquake.


Step 1: Secure your space by identifying hazards and securing moveable items.

Step 2: Plan to be safe by creating a disaster plan and deciding how you will communicate in an emergency.

Step 3: Organize disaster supplies in convenient locations.

Step 4: Minimize financial hardship by organizing important documents, strengthening your property, and considering insurance.


Step 5: Drop, cover and hold on when the earth shakes.

Step 6: Improve safety after earthquakes by evacuating if necessary, helping the injured and preventing further injuries or damage.


Step 7: Restore daily life by reconnecting with others, repairing damage and rebuilding the community.

Nuzzi also recommends that residents sign up for Nixle alerts, which the city sends out via phone or email during emergencies only, and follow the city’s emergency blog site ( to receive the latest information, with access to maps and other resources.

For more safety tips visit and search for preparedness links or visit


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