What Will You Be Doing at 10:17 a.m. on Oct. 17?

UC Riverside to participate in annual statewide earthquake drill

Image is a cartoon of the drop, cover, hold on procedure.

The “Drop, Cover, Hold On” drill is the best course of action during an earthquake.

By Philip Vieira

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Here’s what you could add to your calendar for 10:17 a.m. on Oct. 17: Drop, cover and hold on for sixty seconds.

By doing the voluntary exercise, you will join millions of Californians as they take part in the Great California ShakeOut, a statewide earthquake drill.  Drop, cover and hold on is the best course of action during an earthquake.

As in years past, the University of California, Riverside community will participate in the drill designed to prepare all Californians for the eventual Big One.

All students, faculty and staff are urged to take the exercise seriously and participate in the drill as a first response to a simulated magnitude 7.8 earthquake along the southern San Andreas Fault.

“Such a powerful earthquake could devastate much of Southern California,” said David Oglesby, a professor of geophysics in the Department of Earth Sciences, who is helping organize the event. “Because we live in earthquake country, everyone at UC Riverside and in the surrounding community needs to know what to do when the ground starts shaking. We need to know that trying to run outside or going to an interior doorway are both dangerous actions. Instead, we should drop, cover, and hold on until the shaking stops, and then carefully go outside to a location at a safe distance, away from debris that may fall from buildings.”


Earthquake probability map.

According to Oglesby, regular earthquake drills like the Great California ShakeOut are crucial because Californians need to be able to take the correct action immediately, without having to think about it, at the time of an earthquake.  California is the highest risk state in the country for earthquake activity.

“The yearly ShakeOut drill is the perfect time to practice,” he said. “I urge faculty to lead their students in this drill. As instructors, we are responsible for the safety of our classes. The only way to mitigate fatalities during the next big earthquake is to be prepared, so it is important for everyone to participate in this drill.”

For students who will not have large desks to get under to participate in the drill (for example, students in the University Lecture Hall or in the Highlander Union Building) the following is advised: If you cannot find cover, you should still drop and protect your neck with your hands to avoid sustaining lethal cuts.

SoCal earthquake epicenters map.

Historical epicenters map.

Campus Activities

The following is the schedule of ShakeOut campus activities for Oct. 17:

10:17 a.m.: A campus-wide drop, cover, and hold on drill. A campus warning siren (it may not be audible inside buildings) will mark the start of the drill, and KUCR Radio will start playing a two-minute drop, cover and hold on instructional walk-through clip. This will be followed by an evacuation of some buildings at 10:20 a.m. Evacuees will assemble on the East Lawn for approximately 10 minutes.

11 a.m.–2 p.m.: An earthquake information fair at the bell tower. Experts will answer questions raised by the ShakeOut drill. Also featured at the fair will be earthquake preparedness tips, displays on historical earthquakes and their effects, demonstrations and educational activities on the science of earthquakes. There will be a demonstration of how earthquake faults operate; a simple seismograph that displays people’s jumps and stomps; a laptop-based seismograph network; and displays about recent earthquakes around the world.

Common Misconceptions

“There are some prevailing misconceptions regarding earthquake response,” Oglesby said. “Many people’s most immediate reaction is to run outside away from buildings. The problem with this is that you are likely to either be hurt on your way out of the building, or hit by falling debris immediately outside. If the earthquake is big enough, you will quickly lose balance and end up completely exposed to the ensuing havoc.”

Other common misconceptions include hiding in a doorway or seeking cover next to a desk. Both of these locations will leave you vulnerable to the greatest sources of injury: falling fixtures, furniture, and broken glass.

“That’s why experts recommend finding cover underneath a desk,” Oglesby said. “Holding onto the desk will assure it doesn’t move away from you during the shaking.”

Build a Kit

“An earthquake preparedness kit is also important,” Oglesby said. “Hurricane Katrina taught us that being able to survive for several days following a disaster is important, so pack anything necessary for survival. This should include items like clean water, food, medications, and clothing.”

UCR is a core member of the Southern California Earthquake Center, which is one of the co-sponsors of ShakeOut.

For general information on the ShakeOut drill throughout Southern California, visit www.shakeout.org.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-6050
E-mail: iqbal@ucr.edu
Twitter: UCR_Sciencenews

Additional Contacts

David Oglesby
Tel: (951) 827-2036
E-mail: david.oglesby@ucr.du

Lisa Martin, Environmental Health & Safety
Tel: (951) 827-4255
E-mail: lisa.martin@ucr.edu

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