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Great California Shake Out Sends Millions Under Their Desks

KHTS follows City, Sheriff's department role in earthquake drill.

At 10:15 a.m. Thursday, people across the state turned in to actors. During the Great California Shakeout, the largest simulated earthquake drill in U.S. history, nearly seven million people were driven under their desks to "drop, cover and hold." The technique offers protection against flying objects during an earthquake, advising users to get underneath a desk or table, cover their heads and "hold on".

The yearly drill aims to prepare Californians for a major earthquake, widely predicted to occur sometime in the future.

KHTS AM-1220 broadcast a live interview with Santa Clarita Mayor pro tem Laurene Weste, who detailed the City's internal training and preparedness. After a live countdown, a pre-recorded drill was played. (The drill has been uploaded as a podcast and can be accessed by clicking the player below)

{enclose ShakeOut_Drill_Broadcast_English.mp3}

Afterwards, Matt Randall with Bird in the Sky Communications discussed the importance of Satellite phones during an emergency.

KHTS News Director Carol Rock spent the drill alongside Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies, who practiced their response.

Driving around the city with Sgt. Cortland Myers, we saw a lot of life going on as usual. People out working, shopping, doing what they do normally and probably what they’ll be doing when The Big One hits sometime before 2035.

(In 2005, experts said that there is a 20 to 70 percent chance of an earthquake of magnitude 7 or greater striking the lower San Andreas Fault area within the next 30 years)

As the designated time – 10:15 a.m., we stopped in the city’s Public Works yard to see their drill. Three workers out on a break in the parking lot said that employees were supposed to evacuate the building from the front and assemble in a safe place on the lawn near Rye Canyon Road.

So we waited.

Checked our watches.

Double-checked cell phones to make sure watches were on time.

Nobody.

After about eight minutes, we left, driving through Valencia to check on an accident near the hospital. No activity there either, other than lots of flashing lights.

What did happen during those eight minutes was that the computer screen in the patrol unit continually changed with reports from various parts of the city as deputies did safety checks on various locations – schools, utility companies, military contractors, public buildings, bridges, amusement parks – as soon as the drill was announced.

“Every car has one of these,” Myers said, flipping through a 10-page document listing location names, addresses and why each site was important – hazardous chemicals, public school, hospital, etc. “Each area has certain sites they are responsible for checking.”

As we drove around, Myers said that in a real emergency, other unlisted sites’ damage would be noted along with those on the list to create an authentic picture of the earthquake’s effect on the area.

“What people need to remember is that we may not be able to get there to help them,
Myers emphasized. “They need to be prepared to take care of themselves.”

To learn more about the City's preparedness tips, click here.