Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice | Voter Guide

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.”

RELATED: Clean Air Day A Reminder of San Diego’s Not So Clean Air

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.

FEATURED PODCAST

San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

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.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.