People in government offices, businesses and schools throughout San Diego County this week will stop everything for a minute to “drop, cover and hold on” during a statewide earthquake preparedness drill, now in its 14th year.
The Great California ShakeOut of 2022 is scheduled for 10:20 a.m. Thursday.
“What we do to prepare now, before the this big earthquake, will determine how well we can survive and recover,” according to a statement posted to ShakeOut.org. “Great ShakeOut Earthquake drills are annual opportunities to learn and practice earthquake safety with millions of people.”
The ShakeOut website indicated that 9.2 million Californians are slated to participate in the drill. During last year’s event, about 7.6 million statewide registered to take part.
The exercises began in 2008.
In San Diego County, 800,530 people have registered for this week’s drill.
Municipalities whose local government employees will be involved include San Diego, Del Mar, Encinitas, El Cajon, Chula Vista, Santee and Solana Beach.
Multiple agencies in San Diego County are also signed up, including San Diego County Office of Emergency Services, San Diego County Library, San Diego Public Library, Heartland Fire Communications, Padre Dam Municipal Water District and the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.
Most San Diego area community colleges and universities will be participating including U.C. San Diego, Cal State San Marcos, San Marcos Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, San Diego State University, Southwestern College and the San Diego Palomar Community College District.
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 ShakeOut.org, 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.
City News Service contributed to this article.