Tomorrow at exactly 10:17 a.m., have a table ready at your side because California is one of the more than 40 states participating in the worldwide Great Shakeout earthquake drills. The Shakeout offers an opportunity for individuals to practice proper safety procedures in the case of a devastating earthquake.
“[The Great Shakeout] is an earthquake drill that many states across the United States take part in. It’s to reinforce earthquake safety and disaster safety as well,” Vice Principal John Terry said.
Diamond Bar High School is among the numerous schools that will take part in the safety procedure. When the drill bell rings, participants will carry out the three safety steps of “duck, cover, and hold.” Students are expected to drop to the ground, take cover under a desk or table while protecting their head and neck, and hold on for at least 60 seconds until the drill ends. Through the demonstrative practice, both students and staff will be prepared to protect themselves when a major earthquake strikes.
“It’s important for students to take the drill seriously because you never know when [an earthquake] can happen and you want to be able to go on autopilot when it does. If you don’t practice right, that’s when safety becomes a grave issue because now we not only have a disaster, but we also have students around that don’t know what to do,” Terry said.
Students are also required to practice the correct evacuation skills that will be used in the aftermath of an earthquake.
“Another benefit of having this drill is to get individuals used to exiting the new [math] building. This would be the second time around and [students] would be a lot more familiar with what they’re supposed to do it,” Terry said.
Adequate earthquake preparation is imperative especially for the Diamond Bar community because the city is sandwiched between two seismically active faults. In addition to the Whittier and Chino Fault, the San Andreas Fault lies approximately 26 miles away from the northwest border of the city. Potential earthquakes in any of those areas could cause tremendous local damage to the Diamond Bar and its residents.
The first Shakeout drill was held in California in 2008 to prepare the public on how to act during a major earthquake. Since then, it has spread across the nation and gained popularity all around the world to include over 22 million participants.
Shakeout drills now take place annually in California on the third Thursday of October. Schools are encouraged to not only practice the safety procedures, but also touch upon the evacuation plans, emergency supplies, and medical treatments used during the aftermath of an earthquake.