The County Office of Emergency Services and San Diego County Fire/CAL FIRE recommend that everyone learn earthquake safety and response, but do you know why it is especially important for San Diego County employees and their families to know what to do and be prepared?
All San Diego County employees are considered Disaster Service Workers, and that means that we might all be called upon to assist in a natural disaster like an earthquake. This is why the County urges all employees to have an emergency plan for their family and emergency supplies at home. If called to work, you will want to know that your family will be safe.
We are in the final hours to register for the Great California ShakeOut, a drill that allows people to practice what to do during an earthquake. In San Diego County, more than 900,000 individuals, businesses and organizations are registered to drop, cover and hold on at 10:18 a.m. on Thursday 10/18. On a worldwide scale, ShakeOut organizers say millions of people will take part in the drill.
“Even if you cannot participate in the drill on Thursday, you can still register and practice your response at home with your family when it is more convenient to you. While you’re at it, review your disaster plan and check emergency supplies,” said Stephen Rea, assistant director for the County Office of Emergency Services. “We live in a state that is known for earthquakes and while we cannot predict earthquakes, one could happen at any time.”
Tony Mecham, County Fire and CAL FIRE San Diego Unit Chief, adds, “By learning what to do during an earthquake and practicing at work, school and home, it gives everyone a better chance of survival and improves recovery time. First responders may be unable to get to households in a large-scale disaster and that’s why people need to have basic supplies such as food and water at home.”
Drop, cover and hold on is the protective action recommended by federal, state and local emergency preparedness organizations as the best way to avoid or reduce injury during an earthquake. If indoors, seek cover under a desk or table, or if one is not in the area, move away from glass and heavy furniture and protect your head. Do not run outside if shaking begins but if already outdoors, try to find a clear area and sit down and protect your head. Move away from building exteriors, trees, and power lines if possible. For more specific situations and video demonstrations, click here.
The ShakeOut drill can be conducted in as little as 90 seconds. After your drill, look around your surroundings at work or at home to see what items might fall down or topple over during intense shaking and cause injury, then secure furniture and wall hangings to prevent the hazard.
Drill tips and information resources are available on the ShakeOut website. Free family disaster plan templates are also available on www.ReadySanDiego.org in multiple languages. The templates include a list of important items to assemble in your disaster emergency kit.
Here are a few other things that may be helpful for employees to do: