How to get ready for the ?big one?

Tawny Gestuvo

With minor aftershocks or quakes producing little or almost no commotion it is easy to forget that California is plagued by its own form of natural disaster, earthquakes.

Life above the fault lines seemed to be very well these days post the 1994 Northridge quake. This was all changed in July with a jolt reminding us that these fault lines are here to stay. Natural disasters are a hot topic across the nation and the best tool for fighting back is being prepared.

By staging an annual statewide earthquake drill, The Great Southern California Shake Out on Nov. 13 is a way the U.S. Geological Survey is reaching out to the general public and to get schools involved.

‘Different groups do drills every year. The U.S. Geological Survey funds equipment that help scientists organize earthquake scenarios like activities on San Andreas Fault,’ said Mark Benthien of the So. Cal. Earthquake Center/Earthquake County Alliance.

Benthien said, among groups who do drills every year the Department of Homeland Security organizes their annual golden guardian drill for government people only.

Thinking about the technical definitions of why earthquakes happen always makes it better to comprehend. Though, when presented with the shifting of two tectonic plates at 4 a.m., science is the last thing on anyone’s mind. The reality of it all is that we have no control over when the next one will hit, where we will be or who we will be with. All of these justify why it is important to have a plan.

The best advice Benthien could give in the event of an earthquake is simply drop, cover and hold on.’ He also recommends visiting the web site for safety tips and to get involved in The Great Southern California Shakeout.

The shake out web site covers earthquake scenarios, short films and current reports from the USGS. There is also a calendar of events for people to attend earthquake preparedness events in their community. On drop, cover and hold on people can watch multimedia on how they can avoid damage and maintain stability during an earthquake.

Benthien said there are approximately 4.6 million people registered for the shake out. Among the registered, most are businesses and churches. (According to the shake out web site the number increased to 5.1 million on Sunday.)

‘People neglect preparedness before an earthquake happens. Not doing things that can prevent damage like securing furniture. Especially not having water,’ said Benthien.

With these resources the public can be more prepared than they once were. With the advice of remember, ‘Shake Out. Don’t Freak Out.’