Just yesterday, a 3.5 magnitude earthquake rocked the city of Big Bear.
Today, on October 15–for the seventh year in a row–workers at Riverside County government offices, businesses, schools and other organizations will stop everything for a minute this morning to “drop, cover and hold on” as part of a statewide earthquake preparedness drill.
The Great California ShakeOut of 2015 is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. Yes, that’s 10/15 at 10:15.
Organizers said the exercise will provide an opportunity for workers in the public and private sectors, school kids, families and others to practice simple measures to improve safety in the event of a major quake.
According to the ShakeOut website, 10.4 million Californians are slated to participate in the drill, about the same number that took part last year.
The annual drills began in 2008.
“Major earthquakes may happen where you work, live or travel in California,” according to an official ShakeOut.org statement. “This is our chance to practice how to protect ourselves and for everyone to become prepared. The goal is to prevent disasters from becoming catastrophes.”
In Riverside County, 609,942 people have registered to participate, about 3 percent fewer than the total number registered last year.
Municipalities on the list include Banning, Cathedral City, Coachella, Eastvale, Hemet, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Riverside and Wildomar.
A number of county agencies are also signed up, including the Assessor-Clerk-Recorder’s Office, the Department of Environmental Health and the sheriff’s correctional division.
UC Riverside and the Riverside Community College District campuses, as well as La Sierra University and the Mt. San Jacinto Community College District will join the drill.
The Coachella Valley Unified School District, Desert Sands Unified School District, Hemet Unified School District, Lake Elsinore Unified School District, Murrieta Valley Unified School District, Temecula Valley Unified School District and several dozen other districts, private and charter schools will also have students and staff participating.
According to ShakeOut.org, the objective is to instill awareness about what precautions to take during a 7.8-magnitude or larger quake along the southernmost area of the San Andreas fault.
Officials say such a tectonic shift could produce waves of movement for hundreds of miles over four minutes. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, some 2,000 people would die, tens of thousands would be injured and more than $200 billion in damage would result from such a catastrophe, which would have 50 times the intensity of the Jan. 17, 1994, Northridge earthquake.
Hundreds of aftershocks would follow, a few of them nearly as big as the original event, according to the USGS.
Californians should be prepared to be self-sufficient for 72 hours following an earthquake or other major disaster. That includes having a first-aid kit, medications, food and enough water for each member of a household to drink one gallon per day for at least 72 hours, according to local and state officials.
Homeowners and renters should also know how to turn off the gas in their house or apartment in case of leaks.
For more information, visit: www.ShakeOut.org