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Great ShakeOut 2011: Prepare to drop, cover and hold on!

It’s time to get cozy with your desk.

UCOP staff will join more than 8 million Californians this Thursday, Oct. 20, in the largest earthquake drill of the year: The Great California ShakeOut.

At 10:20 a.m., the floor wardens or the public announcement system at UCOP’s buildings will announce the earthquake drill. All employees are asked to practice “Drop, Cover and Hold On” for 60 seconds by dropping to the ground, taking cover by getting under a sturdy table or desk and holding on until the shaking stops.

To prepare for the drill, assess the safety of your work space and complete the “Secure your Space” inspection checklist at Employees who complete the “Secure Your Space” inspection checklist by the end of October will be entered in a raffle for a Starbuck’s or Peet’s gift card.

Why is a “Drop, Cover and Hold On” drill important? Earthquakes happen anywhere and at any time in California. When a quake strikes, you may have only seconds to protect yourself before strong shaking knocks you down or something falls on you.

The Great California ShakeOut is a chance to practice protecting ourselves and preparing so a disaster doesn’t become a catastrophe.

If there isn’t a table or desk anywhere near you, drop to the ground in an inside corner of the building and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.

Evacuating your building during or after an earthquake may not be safe. Falling debris or glass can be dangerous, especially if the ground has not stopped shaking or if there are aftershocks. Wait for safety personnel to evaluate whether it’s safe to go outside.

Look for the display this week in the Franklin lobby for additional information on how you can better prepare for an earthquake.

You can also find a wealth of earthquake preparedness information online, including how to develop a disaster plan and create a disaster supply kit. Just go to the Personal Emergency Preparedness section of the UCOP Staff Emergency Preparedness webpage. Resources also include helpful hints on how you and your family can be prepared at home.

With planning, preparation and practice, we can all be ready for the next Big One.

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