At 10:18 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, millions of people around the world participated in the largest coordinated earthquake drill on record, as reported by International Business Times. A total of 900 people from the Portland State Office Building (PSOB) and 160,000 from throughout Oregon were part of the exercise. The Great Shakeout is a coordinated international effort to raise awareness of earthquakes and practice techniques that increase safety during an earthquake.
“I was pleased to see the entire building participate,” said Nick May, information systems coordinator for Health Security, Preparedness and Response (HSPR), as well as a deputy incident response team Lead for PSOB. HSPR and the Incident Response Team led exercise planning at PSOB, which they began nearly two months in advance.
Oregon is located near the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which is overdue for a high-magnitude earthquake. Given this proximity, experts expect a subduction earthquake to take place along the west coast. In light of this expectation, the Great Oregon Shakeout was established to educate Oregonians how to protect themselves during an earthquake. This year was the second year of the Great Oregon Shakeout. Participation increased by nearly 100,000 people from last year. For those interested in participating during future drills, or in finding more information about the Great Oregon Shakeout, please visit the Oregon Shakeout website.
“The more people are exposed to exercises like [the Great Oregon Shakeout], the more their knowledge about how to respond increases and their anxiety and fear decrease,” notes May. Participating groups included schools, businesses, neighborhood organizations, nonprofit groups, hospitals, health care organizations, tribes and local/state/federal governments.
There are usually no warnings that an earthquake will occur. Drills like the Great Shakeout are the best ways to prepare. The standard safety technique is “drop, cover and hold,” whereby individuals drop to the ground, cover their heads and hold onto something until the earthquake stops. Please visit Prepare for Earthquake to learn more, and be prepared!
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