Prepare for quakes with ShakeOut drill
When the next “big one” hits, Yuma County wants you to be prepared.
Thursday is the Great Arizona ShakeOut, an earthquake preparedness drill encouraged statewide — and especially popular locally, as registration numbers for the event show. As of Tuesday afternoon, about 50,000 people had registered for the Great Arizona ShakeOut, with more than half being from Yuma County.
The event is formally set for 10:18 a.m. (10:18 on 10/18) but people who register can complete their drill anytime inside of a two-week window from then. Schools and day cares, government offices and agencies, civic groups, businesses and individuals are invited to participate.
“We don't often get advance notice before disaster strikes, so the opportunity for residents to drill in the Great Arizona ShakeOut is invaluable,” said Lou Trammell, director of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management. “It's also a great way for parents to participate in emergency preparedness with their kids.”
Here's the basic drill:
• Drop to the ground.
• Take cover under a sturdy table or desk if possible, to be shielded from falling or flying objects, and protect your head and neck.
• Hold on until the shaking stops.
Although Thursday's event is handy, there's no need to sign up to be aware of earthquake dangers. Gretchen Robinson, emergency management director for Yuma County, said people can act out the drop-take-cover-hold on routine or simply have a team or family meeting to strategize what to do and where to go in case of a temblor.
Among Yuma's participants are more than 23,000 schoolchildren. As with adults, if children know what to do during a scary or unexpected time, they'll feel better, Robinson said.
“FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) tells us to tell little kids, don't be scared, be prepared.”
There's already some earthquake awareness here with the still-recent memory of the 7.2-magnitude Easter Sunday quake of 2010. The epicenter of the Easter Sunday quake, about 16 miles south of Guadalupe Victoria, Baja Calif., along the Cerro Prieto fault, hit El Centro, Calexico and San Luis Rio Colorado harder than Yuma. But Robinson said had Yuma been only 30 miles to the south, in Mexico, it would have seen much greater evidence of an earthquake's wrath.
To participate in the Great Arizona ShakeOut, go to www.shakeout.org/arizona.
Hillary Davis can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6857. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSHillaryDavis or on Twitter at @YSHillaryDavis.