Laurene Weste: Preparing for the next Big One

Here in Santa Clarita, we don’t experience hurricanes or tornadoes, but we are familiar with other natural emergencies. We know all too well the fire danger we face year-round, and we are no strangers to earthquakes here in Santa Clarita. It is critical for our community to prepare for emergencies and learn how to work together to keep each other safe.

One important way Santa Clarita community members can prepare for the next big earthquake is by participating in the Great California ShakeOut Earthquake Drill on Thursday at 10:17 a.m. City facilities, including City Hall, all three Santa Clarita Public Library branches and the Newhall and Canyon Country Community Centers, are scheduled to host a drill for visitors and staff.

No matter where you are at 10:17 a.m. on Thursday, you are encouraged to participate in the drill. To do so, you will need to take the same steps you would if a real earthquake was occurring; drop, cover and hold on. Find the nearest available shelter, such as a table, and drop to your hands and knees, covering your head with one arm and holding on with your other arm. This simple technique is proven to be the most effective way to shield yourself during an earthquake because it protects your vital organs and does not leave you as susceptible to falling or flying objects.

On top of participating in practice drills, it is always important to encourage an open dialogue about emergency preparedness. Have a conversation with your family about what to do in an emergency, and have a plan for how you will communicate if you are separated. Designating an out-of-state contact is a great way to overcome local downed or jammed phone lines so you and your loved ones can check on each other. Encourage your children to participate in the planning process, from emergency kit preparation to home evacuation drills. Involving each member of the family, including pets, will allow for maximum preparation should an emergency occur.

To learn more about the Great California ShakeOut Earthquake Drill and access other safety tips and resources, visit ShakeOut.org.

Another way you can become resilient in the event of an emergency is by participating in Community Emergency Response Trainings (CERT) that the city hosts throughout the year. This 21-hour training is spread out over multiple sessions and educates participants on how to recognize potential hazards associated with different types of emergencies, identify and utilize available resources and treat life-threatening conditions through Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment. To learn about the next CERT opportunity, visit santa-clarita.com/CERT.

Ensuring the safety of our residents is a top priority for our city. We are proud to offer these emergency preparedness resources so residents can feel as ready as possible should an emergency take place.

I know I will be stopping, dropping and holding on during the Great California ShakeOut Earthquake Drill on Thursday, and I hope my fellow community members will join me! Practice makes perfect, and we want to keep us all safe.

Councilwoman Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected]

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