This week, employees of government offices, businesses and schools in San Diego County will stop everything for a minute to “drop, cover and hang on” during an earthquake preparedness drill at the statewide, now in its 14th year.
The 2022 Great California ShakeOut is scheduled for 10:20 a.m. Thursday.
“What we do to prepare now, before the big earthquake, will determine how well we can survive and recover,” according to a statement posted on ShakeOut.org. “The Great ShakeOut Earthquake exercises are annual opportunities to learn and practice earthquake safety with millions of people.”
The ShakeOut website said 9.2 million Californians are expected to take part in the exercise. At last year’s event, about 7.6 million people statewide registered to attend.
The exercises began in 2008.
In San Diego County, 800,530 people signed up for this week’s exercise.
Municipalities whose local government employees will be involved include San Diego, Del Mar, Encinitas, El Cajon, Chula Vista, Santee and Solana Beach.
Several San Diego County agencies are also listed, including the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services, San Diego County Library, San Diego Public Library, Heartland Fire Communications, Municipal Water District of Padre Dam and the San Diego County Registrar of Electors.
Most community colleges and universities in the San Diego area will participate, including UC San Diego, Cal State San Marcos, San Marcos Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, San Diego State University, Southwestern College, and San Diego Palomar Community College District.
The majority of K-12 school districts in the county, as well as private and charter schools, will have participating students and staff.
According to ShakeOut.org, the goal is to emphasize precautions during an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 or greater along the southernmost part of the San Andreas Fault.
Officials say such a tectonic shift could produce waves of movement hundreds of miles in four minutes. According to the US Geological Survey, some 2,000 people would die, tens of thousands would be injured, and more than $200 billion in damages would result. The cataclysm is said to be 50 times the intensity of the Northridge earthquake of January 17, 1994.
Hundreds of aftershocks would follow, including some nearly as large as the original quake, according to the USGS.
The 2019 exercise took place just over three months after the early July earthquakes that hit Ridgecrest. The 6.4 and 7.1 magnitude agitators caused extensive damage to roads and structures in the hamlet, which lies just south of China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station.
Californians must be prepared to be self-sufficient for 72 hours after a major disaster. This includes a first aid kit, medicine, food and enough water for each member of a household to drink a gallon a day, according to local and state officials.
Landlords and tenants also need to know how to turn off the gas in their home in the event of a leak.