Are you ready for the next big earthquake? It’s time to ShakeOut

Students wait outside during the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill at Saddleback College. (Diana Tomseth/Lariat) 

Saddleback College participated in the Great ShakeOut on Thursday, Oct. 19 at 10:19 a.m. Students, faculty and staff joined in on the campus wide earthquake drill. Over 21 million people across the globe and over 18.7 million Californians participated in the worldwide drill.

Participants everywhere were asked to “drop, cover and hold on” during an earthquake.

The Saddleback College Police Department conducted the ShakeOut. Around 25 Community Emergency Response Team volunteers and eight police personnel helped operate the exercise.

“We got practice evacuating the buildings and we don’t do that a lot anymore,” said Emergency Business Community Manager Todd Devoe. “Then the other thing is It really brings awareness to earthquakes. We do live in earthquake country.”

After students evacuated their classrooms, many students scrolled their phones, sat in lawn chairs or stood and spoke with classmates as they waited for the drill to end. Students reacted differently to the drill.

“I can see how it can help us, having an earthquake drill, but by seeing it right now, it doesn’t seem very helpful because everyone is just doing their own thing right now,” said Saddleback College student Audrey Galang. “There’s literally people playing ping pong across from me.”

While students may have had down time, CERT volunteers busily cleared buildings, reported, tracked and printed goals on the buildings during the 20 minute waiting period behind the scenes before returning back to the command center. They wanted to make sure the buildings were cleared before others could enter again.

“I feel like it’s good for us because you never know when an earthquake is going to happen, so we want to be safe,” said Saddleback student Haley Townsend. “We want to still be alive, so we need to know what we need to do when an earthquake actually happens.”

The Saddleback Police department used InformaCast, a mass communication system, which helped send alerts out for The Great California ShakeOut

“People get afraid because they don’t know what to do and this takes that fear away from them, because they know what to do now in the case of an earthquake,” DeVoe said.