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Shakeout Earthquake Drill Draws Fewer California Residents

Ron Mikulaco, left, and his nephew, Brad Fernandez, examine a crack caused by...

Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

Above: Ron Mikulaco, left, and his nephew, Brad Fernandez, examine a crack caused by an earthquake on highway 178 Saturday, July 6, 2019, outside of Ridgecrest, Calif.

The Great American Shakeout will be a bit smaller this year, thanks to COVID-19.

The annual earthquake awareness drill had more than 10 million participants in California last year and nationally more than 28 million people took part.

Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.

But this year, only about 6 million California residents registered.

Public Safety officials are still encouraging people to take part.

“In an emergency, while we are here to help you, it is important that we have the measures to take care of yourself,” said Tony Mecham, a San Diego CalFire chief. Participate and practice drop cover and hold.”

Reported by Erik Anderson

People are adjusting their participation in large part because of the pandemic.

“We may not be in our offices, we may not be in our schools, and so this actually works well for a family to practice, to make themselves ready,” said Janiele Maffei of the California Earthquake Authority. “To have a plan. To look around where most people are sitting during the day and look for that sturdy piece of furniture that you will drop cover and hold onto under in the event of an earthquake.”

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Earthquakes are immune to the pandemic and state residents need to know how to protect themselves, according to the authority.

“In California, because of our building codes, most buildings are not going to collapse,” Maffei said. “The idea here is you see people running in terror from a building. The reality is that the largest risk is falling objects.”

Maffei said because the participation isn’t focused on schools or workplaces the drill is going virtual and it can happen anytime or anyplace.

The coordinated drill was held at 10:15 a.m., Thursday.


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Photo of Erik Anderson

Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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