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Great ShakeOut: Get ready to “drop, cover and hold on”

UCOP will join more than 8.8 million Californians on Thursday, Oct. 18, in the largest earthquake drill of the year, The Great California ShakeOut.

At 10:18 a.m., you will hear the drill announced in UCOP’s office locations. All employees are then asked to “drop, cover and hold on” for 60 seconds by dropping to the ground, taking cover under a sturdy table or desk, and holding on until the shaking stops.

That shaking will be only in your imagination, although last year, just hours after the Great ShakeOut drill, the San Francisco Bay Area actually did experience a 3.9 earthquake that was emphatically felt in downtown Oakland offices. That emphasizes the importance of being prepared, said Matthew Leet, chief engineer at UCOP’s Franklin St. building.

“Earthquakes can happen anywhere and at any time in California,” Leet said. “When a quake hits, you may have just seconds to protect yourself before strong shaking could knock you down or something could fall on you, so it’s a good idea to practice exactly what you will do in a quake.”

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.

You can 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.

The resources there also include helpful information on how you and your family can be prepared at home.

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