State Officials Urge Californians to Practice Earthquake Preparedness

MATHER – Today, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) Chief Deputy Christina Curry was joined by California State Assemblywoman Luz Rivas, California Geological Survey Geologist Steve Bohlen, and California Seismic Safety Commission Executive Director Richard McCarthy to highlight the Earthquake Warning California campaign and the MyShake app in recognition of International ShakeOut Day.

Those attending the press conference participated in the Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill virtually along with more than 17 million people worldwide, following safety precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, for the first time, the MyShake app was tested in collaboration with the statewide drill. The app is one of several delivery tools of the Earthquake Warning California.

“ShakeOut is an important reminder that earthquakes are a real risk in California. Knowing what to do in the event of an earthquake will help you, your family, and community have a more positive outcome,” said Christina Curry, Chief Deputy Director of Cal OES. “Also, having tools and resources such as the MyShake app is another important way to be prepared. This tool can provide seconds of warning ahead of an earthquake giving you the opportunity to prepare.”

Earlier this month, Cal OES launched the Earthquake Warning California “Don’t Get Caught Off Guard” education and outreach campaign. The goal of the campaign is to educate Californians on tools and resources available to help Californians stay safe during an earthquake. While this year has presented uncertainties and challenges, events and situations in our lives have the potential to catch us off guard, but now earthquakes don’t have to – Californians are urged to take a minute to download the free MyShake app.

“The Big One is right around the corner. Due to California’s more than 500 active fault lines, 40 million residents, and unique landscapes, a major earthquake could be catastrophic for our state. The best way to mitigate disasters is to be prepared,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management). “I applaud the work of the Legislature to fund and maintain the nation’s first earthquake early warning system, and Cal OES for hosting the annual Great Shake Out to remind residents to prepare and practice for earthquakes.”

In addition to highlighting and promoting new and innovative emergency preparedness and mitigation technology, Earthquake Warning California reminds and encourages Californians to be prepared before, during and following a disaster in their homes, businesses, and communities by planning to stay safe. Earthquakes can happen in California at any time; knowing how to protect yourself and your family once you receive an alert or feel shaking is key.

“Everyone in  California is affected by major earthquakes and the after effects. That’s why it’s important for Californians to prepare, including making a disaster plan, and why it’s important for us to provide state and local officials with scientific information and data to incorporate into their planning and response,”  said Steve Bohlen, Acting State Geologist and chief of the California Geological Survey, part of the Department of Conservation. “Good information can save lives.”

The International ShakeOut Day is held annually on the third Thursday of October. During the self-led drill, participants practice how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” Endorsed by emergency officials and first responders, the safe response to an earthquake is to:

  • DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees.
  • COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand.
  • If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter.
  • If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows).
  • Stay on your knees, bend over to protect vital organs.
  • HOLD ON until shaking stops.
  • Under shelter: Hold on to it with one hand and be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts.
  • No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

To learn more about earthquake preparedness, the MyShake app, Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs), Android Earthquake Alerts, and the latest earthquake warning news, visit: earthquake.ca.gov.

Robb Mayberry

Robb Mayberry is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. He has assisted in the response and recovery efforts with some of California’s worst disasters, including the San Refugio Oil Spill, the Valley and Butte Wildfires, Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, Erskine Fire, the Winter Storms of 2017, the Tubbs Fire, the Thomas Fire, the Carr Fire, the Camp Fire, and the Ridgecrest Earthquake. Prior to public service, he spent 25 years managing the public and media relations for some of Northern California’s largest healthcare organizations.

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