Third Annual Earthquake Drill to prepare CSUN for the ‘big one’

Drop, cover and hold on are what millions of people including the CSUN campus, businesses, government offices and residences will be doing at 10:21 a.m. today.

CSUN will partake in the Third Annual Earthquake Drill this morning by dropping to the ground, taking cover under a sturdy desk or table and holding on that desk or table until the drill comes to an end.

The drill will be announced through the CSUN phone messaging system but will not be broadcast in classrooms, not as an effort to keep from disrupting classes but because there are no voice over intercom phones in all classrooms.

“The drill will last two or three minutes,” said Kit Espinosa, emergency management and preparedness coordinator at CSUN. “Everyone is supposed to drop, cover and hold on and think ‘what if this was a real earthquake.’”

The earthquake drill was started by the Southern California Earthquake Center in a joint effort with other groups in 2008.

“Most scientists believe there will be a major earthquake coming soon and with the drill people will know what to do in the event of an earthquake,” said Jillian Gorelick, an intern at the Southern California Earthquake Center who is in charge of the database for participants of the annual earthquake drill.

According the Southern California Earthquake Center website, scientists have a way of predicting earthquakes along fault lines by studying patterns and statistics. The last earthquake in the San Andreas Fault was in 1812 and scientists estimate the San Andreas Fault line is overdue for an earthquake.

“I heard about the drill, a friend told me about it,” said Andrew Phillipp, 23, art history major, “I think it makes you more aware about the structure of buildings.”

Phillipp’s thought about buildings was also a concern for CSUN after the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

“Building codes have changed massively,” Espinosa said. “Building codes are very important. They can make or break a situation.”

Espinosa said she wants to have the drop, cover and hold on sequence engrained in students, faculty and staff’s brains so they remember how to respond to an earthquake.

If people want any information on being prepared for an earthquake they can contact Kit Espinosa at (818) 677-5973.