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Ready for the ‘Big One’? Thursday’s ShakeOut Earthquake Drill Is a Reminder To Be Prepared for the Inevitable

Published on Thursday, October 20, 2022 | 4:47 am

People at a number of institutions city-wide are going to practice how to drop, cover and hold at 10:20 a.m. Thursday as a part of the Great California Shakeout Drill that encourages disaster preparedness in anticipation of the inevitable large-scale earthquake that scientists say could occur in the region at any time.

“It’s not a matter of if, but when we have an earthquake. It’s going to happen and unfortunately people get complacent. The more you practice and train the better off you’ll be when the situation occurs,” said Pasadena Fire Department Spokeswoman and Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) Coordinator Lisa Derderian.

Caltech and the City continue to team together to educate the Pasadena community on the hazards of an earthquake and how each community member can prepare for the “Big One.” 

“What we do to prepare now, before this big earthquake, will determine how well we can survive and recover,” according to a statement posted to “Great ShakeOut Earthquake drills are annual opportunities to learn and practice earthquake safety with millions of people.”

The ShakeOut website said that more than 9.4 million Californians, as of Wednesday, were slated to participate in the drill. In Los Angeles County, more than 3.2 million people have registered. In Orange County, the number was more than 850,000.

During last year’s event, about 7.6 million statewide registered to take part. The exercises began in 2008.

A majority of the county’s kindergarten through 12th-grade school districts, along with private and charter schools, will have students and staff participating.

According to, the objective is to emphasize precautions during a 7.8-magnitude or larger quake along the southernmost portion of the San Andreas fault.

Officials say that such a tectonic shift could produce waves of movement for hundreds of miles, over four minutes. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, some 2,000 people would die, tens of thousands would be injured and more than $200 billion in damage would result. The cataclysm would have 50 times the intensity of the Jan. 17, 1994, Northridge earthquake.

Hundreds of aftershocks would ensue — a few of them nearly as big as the original quake, according to the USGS.

The drill in 2019 came just over three months after the early July quakes that struck Ridgecrest. The 6.4- and 7.1-magnitude shakers caused significant damage to roads and structures in the hamlet, which lies just south of the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station.

Californians should be prepared to be self-sufficient for 72 hours following a major disaster. That includes having a first-aid kit, medications, food and enough water for each member of a household to drink one gallon per day, according to local and state officials.

Homeowners and renters should also know how to turn off the gas in their residences in case of leaks.

For more insights about safety during an earthquake, the California Residential Mitigation Program has prepared Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety that can help people be prepared to survive and recover from the next damaging earthquake. These steps are available at

Also see: Caltech’s Earthquake Specialists Shed Light On ‘Big One’ Ahead of Thursday’s Great ShakeOut Event

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