Saddleback takes time to ShakeOut

Students get under their desks, following the "Drop, Cover and Hold On" instruction of the ShakeOut drill. (chandleraka/Instagram)

Students get under their desks, following the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” instruction of the ShakeOut drill. (chandleraka/Instagram)

Saddleback College has participated in The Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill since its introduction on Nov. 13, 2008.

Formally known as the “Great Southern California ShakeOut,” the drill was created and coordinated by the Earthquake Country Alliance as a way to involve and advise Southern California residents to earthquake preparation and safety.

The ShakeOut alerts the public about earthquake preparedness. The term “shakeout” comes from the ShakeOut Scenario, a total description of a model 7.8 magnitude earthquake on the San Andreas Fault.

DropCoverHoldonThe ShakeOut drill’s manta is “Drop, Cover and Hold On.”

In the event of an earthquake, one should drop to the ground to avoid losing one’s balance and sustaining potential injury.

Now take shelter under something sturdy, such as a table or desk, to avoid any debris from falling and causing injury or death.

Finally, hold on to the object until the trembling subsides.

The ShakeOut also includes more in-depth instructions for those in leadership positions to help better coordinate a proper drill in the event of an earthquake.

There is also a detailed section in the formal ShakeOut manual directed towards businesses  with instruction how to make decisions, react and recover from the aftermath of an earthquake’s effects.

The first year was a success for the ShakeOut attracting 5.4 million participants, the largest earthquake drill in U.S. history at the time. By the second event, on Oct. 15 2009 at 10:15 a.m., it became statewide, attracting 6.9 million people.

Saddleback geology instructor James Repka has been following and participating in the event for years. He discussed why the date for the drill is pertinent.

“Interestingly enough, the date is tied to the Loma Prieta earthquake which happened in Santa Cruz in 1989,” Repka said. “That happened on October 17.”

Every year the ShakeOut is held on a Thursday closest to Oct. 17, the date corresponding to the minute during the 10 a.m. hour.

“It’s always a Thursday and they match the time and the date,” Repka said. “So this year it was October 15 at 10:15 in the morning.”

Since 2009 the event has expanded past California into surrounding states and countries including Canada, New Zealand, and Japan.

Now know as the Great ShakeOut because of its ever-growing participation will continue to grow as fears and concerns increase over the arrival of the next big earthquake.

Detailed information on The Great California ShakeOut is available at