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That Moment You Realize…the Ground is Shaking!

October 09, 2018

With the first jolt of an earthquake, you are seized by a jumble of emotions – from confusion about what is going on, helplessness in a situation out of control, to raw fear for your life. Depending on where you are when it strikes – in bed, at work, in your car or outdoors – your mind may be searching for an explanation for what you’re experiencing. If you have lived in California for a while, you have probably been through an earthquake before and the realization comes to you quickly. In that moment, do you know what to do to protect yourself?

Preparation improves the chances for avoiding serious injury during an earthquake. In an earlier blog, I discussed the steps you can take in advance to reduce hazards at home, work or school; and how to get through the aftermath of a quake. Being ready for the first instant in a major seismic event is critical to survival and avoiding injury. The Great California Shakeout on October 18 is a planned drill to help us to be ready for that moment. Throughout the state, millions of us will be practicing how to Drop, Cover and Hold On! Federal, state, and local emergency management experts all agree that “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” is the appropriate action to reduce injury and death during earthquakes. The Shakeout is our opportunity to practice how to protect ourselves during earthquakes.

In MOST situations, you will reduce your chance of injury if you:


For those with medical conditions or disabilities who cannot perform these actions, there are alternative ways to prepare and protect yourself during and after an earthquake. It’s a matter of having a plan in place and learning to employ the best practices to minimize serious injury.

The Shakeout started ten years ago right here in California, and this annual drill has now spread throughout the country and to other nations around the world. Your company, school, or community organization may already be taking part. You can even participate all by yourself by practicing Drop, Cover and Hold On at 10:18 am on Thursday, October 18, 2018. We can never know where or when the next earthquake will hit, so take the opportunity to get ready during the Great California Shakeout!

About Eric Preston
Eric Preston is Vice President, Loss Control Services at Keenan. He leads a statewide team of specialists assisting clients with services to reduce hazards, and improve property & casualty loss experience.