In exactly two weeks, people in government offices, businesses and schools throughout Riverside County will stop everything for a minute to “drop, cover and hold on” during a statewide earthquake preparedness drill, now in its 10th year.
The Great California ShakeOut of 2018 is scheduled for 10:18 a.m. Oct. 18.
“While some areas of California are more likely to have earthquakes than others, all of California is at high risk,” according to a statement posted to www.ShakeOut.org. “You could be anywhere when an earthquake strikes — at home, work, school, or even on vacation. The Great California ShakeOut is an annual opportunity to practice how to be safer during big earthquakes.”
Organizers said the exercise will provide an opportunity for workers in the public and private sectors, school children, families and others to practice simple steps to improve safety, as well as think about the financial implications and other consequences of a damaging quake.
The ShakeOut website indicated that, to date, 8.1 million Californians are slated to participate in the drill. Last year, the figure was closer to 9 million. Exercises began in 2008.
In Riverside County, 459,875 people have registered to participate so far.
Municipalities on the list include Canyon Lake, Corona, Eastvale, Indian Wells, Indio, Murrieta, Norco, Rancho Mirage, Riverside and Temecula.
A number of Riverside County agencies are also registered, including the Economic Development Agency, Department of Public Social Services, Department of Probation, the Sheriff’s Department and the Riverside University Health System.
UC Riverside, College of the Desert, Norco College and the Mt. San Jacinto Community College District will also join the drill.
Among K-12 schools, the Beaumont, Coachella Valley, Desert, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Murrieta Valley, Palm Springs, Perris, Riverside, San Jacinto and Temecula Valley unified school districts, along with several dozen other districts, private and charter schools, will have students and staff participating.
According to ShakeOut.org, the objective is to emphasize precautions during a 7.8-magnitude or larger quake along the southernmost portion of the San Andreas fault.
Officials say that such a tectonic shift could produce waves of movement for hundreds of miles, over four minutes. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, some 2,000 people would die, tens of thousands would be injured and more than $200 billion in damage would result. The cataclysm would have 50 times the intensity of the Jan. 17, 1994, Northridge earthquake.
Hundreds of aftershocks would ensue — a few of them nearly as big as the original quake, according to the USGS.
Californians should be prepared to be self-sufficient for 72 hours following a major disaster. That includes having a first-aid kit, medications, food and enough water for each member of a household to drink one gallon per day, according to local and state officials.
Homeowners and renters should also know how to turn off the gas in their house or apartment in case of leaks.