Earthquake Drill Set for 10:20 a.m. on 10/20

Faculty, staff, and students on campus are gearing up to participate in two-minute drill

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Faculty, staff, and students at the University of California, Riverside will join about 10 million people expected to participate in the annual Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill on Oct. 20 at 10:20 a.m.

The approximately two-minute drill is a voluntary exercise as a first response to a simulated magnitude 7.8 earthquake along the southern San Andreas Fault, which runs a few miles from the UC Riverside campus. Such an earthquake could disrupt utilities, transportation, and telecommunication systems, resulting in injuries, death, and structural damage.

The campus community is advised to set an alarm for 10:20 a.m. on Oct. 20 and perform “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” at that time. KUCR Radio will play a two-minute instructional walk-through clip starting at 10:20 a.m. Faculty, staff and students will also receive text message and e-mail alerts about the drill at this time. This will be followed by the evacuation of some buildings on campus.

On Oct. 19 and 20, the public can visit an earthquake information booth from 9 a.m. to noon, hosted by the Department of Earth Sciences and located near the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on campus. Earthquake experts will be available at the booth to discuss earthquake preparedness tips and displays on historical earthquakes and their effects.

Also at the booth 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.

Abhijit Ghosh, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at UC Riverside, and Lisa Martin, the campus emergency manager, are coordinating the drill on campus.

While it is impossible to come up with a solution for every possible situation, here are the basics that UC Riverside’s experts suggest for what one can do if it’s not possible to duck and cover, such as in a lecture hall on campus:

  • If you are walking or standing, drop down onto your hands and knees (before the earthquake knocks you down), and protect your vital organs. This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.
  • If possible, cover your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, get down near an interior wall (or next to low-lying furniture that won’t fall on you), and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
  • If you are in a lecture hall, stay in your seat or get underneath it if possible. Protect your head and neck with your arms. Improvise as necessary.
  • Hold on to your shelter (or to your head and neck) until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.
  • After the shaking stops, evacuate the building. Move toward the nearest exit, do not use elevators.
  • If applicable, secure hazardous material (if safe to do so) before leaving.
  • Do not re-enter the building until authorized by emergency personnel.


ShakeOut is held each year on the third Thursday of October. For general information on the ShakeOut drill throughout Southern California, visit For earthquake preparedness tips, please visit

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


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