Los Angeles Prepares for Great Shakeout Earthquake Drill

Listen to an audio story by Annenberg Radio News

imageAt 10:20 a.m. on Thursday morning, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will drop down to the floor of his office. On all fours, he will feel the ground shaking as he clasps his hands over his head. He will watch in horror as the photos hanging on the wall crash to the ground. He’ll panic as the building sways back and forth, not knowing if he will be able to get out in time.

Two minutes later, the ground will finally stop shaking, and the mayor will proceed to carry out earthquake emergency procedures, checking for anyone in the office with injuries and accessing their emergency supply kit.

There’s just one thing – it’s all make-believe.

Today, the mayor urged Los Angeles to take part in the Great California ShakeOut. He asked everyone to simulate an earthquake in an effort to learn, plan, and practice preparedness.

“Rarely do we take the time to face the reality of the greatest natural disaster our region will face in a lifetime,” he said.

The mayor, along with 8 million other Californians, will participate in Thursday’s drill, making it the largest earthquake drill in world history.

It may seem like a dramatic production, but the mayor said he strongly believes that the simulation is important.

“It’s not a question of if an earthquake will happen, but rather when an earthquake will happen,” he said. “A large earthquake is one of the largest looming threats over Southern California.”

The city is asking people to create an emergency disaster plan with their families, build an emergency supply kit, and practice what they will do when an earthquake strikes.

First responders will be coordinating their own emergency response plan.

Earthquake specialist Dr. Lucy Jones believes this teamwork is an essential part of the drill’s goal.

“We’re all in this together, and the more that each one of us individually is ready for the earthquake, the better off our overall community will be,” she said. “The earthquake really is inevitable, but the disaster is not.”

Dr. Jones and the mayor encourage everyone to take part this Thursday, October 20, at 10:20 a.m.