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October 18, 2011 > The Great California ShakeOut

The Great California ShakeOut

Submitted By Thor Poulsen

On Thursday, October 20 at 10:20 a.m., millions of Californians will participate in the largest earthquake drill in the world! The purpose of the "ShakeOut" drill is to practice how to protect ourselves during earthquakes, and to get prepared at work, school, and at home. Over 8.2 million people are currently registered to participate in this statewide earthquake drill spanning all 58 California counties.

In Hayward, the Fire Department will lead; all city employees are being notified and encouraged to participate. Firefighters in all nine Hayward stations will work together by utilizing their emergency earthquake management plan, first moving all fire engines and trucks out in front of the fire stations (in preparation for aftershocks) at 10:21 a.m. Firefighters will rapidly survey their fire station for damage and then quickly survey the district in which they serve. Information gathered in the field will immediately be transmitted directly to the Incident Commander who can then promptly put together an overall assessment of the city.

All other city employees will follow their emergency earthquake procedures, being encouraged to "Drop, Cover, and Hold-On" and to evaluate the situation, notifying their department head and preparing for aftershocks. For accountability, employees should review the staff "buddy system" where two or more employees are together at all times.

All Hayward employees have been encouraged to use the city's public Disaster Preparedness site for free information containing the tools needed to help prepare for a major event at work or at home.

Why is it important to do a Drop, Cover, Hold-On drill? As with anything, to react quickly you must practice often. You may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake before strong shaking knocks you down, or drops something on you. "Drop, Cover, and Hold-On" gives you the best overall chance of protecting yourself during an earthquake...even during quakes that cause furniture to move about rooms, and even in buildings that might ultimately collapse. Dropping, covering your head (away from breaking windows and under a strong table if possible), and holding onto furniture (even if it is moving) offers the best overall level of protection in most situations.

Join the Hayward Fire Department by registering at to participate in the Great California ShakeOut.

To view and use the Disaster Preparedness website, go to: and click on the red "Disaster Preparedness" button.

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