Millions of Californians set to take part in statewide quake drill

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Preparing for “the big one” will be the goal of a
statewide earthquake drill Thursday, when San Diego-area government offices,
businesses, schools and other organizations will stop everything for a minute
so participants can “drop, cover and hold on.”

Nearly 670,000 people countywide have registered to take part in the
fifth annual “Great California ShakeOut,” scheduled for 10:18 a.m.

Statewide, there are 9.3 million registered participants, compared to
8.6 million last year, according to

The objective is to raise awareness about precautions to take during a
magnitude-7.8 or larger quake along the southernmost area of the San Andreas

“What we do now, before a big earthquake, will determine what our lives
will be like afterwards,” said Rick Hindrichs, director of disaster services
for the American Red Cross San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter. “With
earthquakes an inevitable part of our future, we must act quickly to ensure
that disasters do not become catastrophes — getting a kit, making a plan and
being informed are critical measures everyone can take.”

Ten of San Diego County's 18 municipalities are scheduled to
participate, along with the county, the Port of San Diego, most of the
universities, colleges and public elementary, middle and high schools.

The county of San Diego is focusing on safety for people who are riding
in trains or outdoors when a major temblor strikes. According to Amtrak,
passengers might not even feel an earthquake, but engineers would have to stop
their trains while tracks are inspected.

Under the quake scenario, a tectonic shift would 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 the catastrophe,
which would have 50 times the intensity of the Jan. 17, 1994, Northridge

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

Homeowners and renters should also know how to turn off the gas in their
house or apartment in case of leaks.

Categories: KUSI