Drop, cover and hold on – three steps that could change the entire course of one’s earthquake experience.
On Thursday, many in Santa Clarita participated in the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill to practice all the steps one should take in the event of an earthquake.
Among the participants were employees at Santa Clarita’s City Hall.
“It’s critical because the residents, the members of the community, they’re going to be looking to us in the event of an emergency and if we’re not prepared, there’s no way we can help them,” said Roger Willcox, emergency operations analyst for the city of Santa Clarita. “It really starts at a foundational level; we want to be prepared so we can ultimately help them.”
At 10:20 a.m. an announcement went to everyone in the building saying that an earthquake was taking place. Employees dropped to the floor, hid under their desks and held on to what they could. This included protecting their necks.
All employees were then ordered to evacuate the building. Following their designated leader, every group of employees met in different areas throughout the City Hall parking lot.
Willcox said that throughout this drill, and in the case of a real earthquake, “No. 1 is to stay calm.”
Once the “all clear” was given, they all returned back inside the building.
“We get so caught up in our day-to-day work, that it’s not something that we are always focused on, so doing drills like these really helps people remember what they are supposed to be doing in the event of an emergency,” said Carrie Lujan, communications division manager for the city of Santa Clarita.
The American Red Cross recommends taking the following steps, according to your location, in the event of an earthquake:
- If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on. Protect your head with a pillow.
- If you are inside, stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. When it is, use stairs rather than the elevator in case there are aftershocks, power outages or other damage.
- If you are outside, find a clear spot (away from buildings, power lines, trees, streetlights) and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops.
- If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible. Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Then, drive carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.
- If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.