Drop, cover, hold on: Oregonians practice quake safety


The Great Oregon ShakeOut drills take place every year

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregonians have long worried over a major earthquake expected to hit the region. And while we can’t know exactly when “The Big One” (or any earthquake) will hit, we can be prepared.

Oregon’s largest earthquake drill — the Great Oregon ShakeOut — took place Thursday.

Starting at 10:17 a.m., hundreds of thousands of people across the state practiced what to do if the ground begins to shake: drop, cover and hold on.

Steven Eberlein with the American Red Cross started preaching the importance of natural disaster preparedness after seeing the aftermath of an 8.9-magnitude temblor first-hand while living in Sri Lanka.

“This drill is simple — when it is 10:18 am on Oct. 18 you’re simply going to drop down to the ground, you’re going to cover the back of your head with your hand, you’re going to get under a sturdy object like a table or a desk and you’re going to hold on for a minute,” he told KOIN 6 News ahead of last year’s ShakeOut. “It’s a simple as that.”

Shake Alert Oregon is also working on a system that should be up and running in the next year that would use US Geological Survey seismic sensors to notify people on cell phones when an earthquake has happened. It could even notify people before the shaking starts.

“If you’re right on top of the earthquake — it’s going to shake you before the system has the ability to send a warning,” Leland Odriscoll with Shake Alert Oregon sid. “But for someone like those of us sitting in Portland right now, if we see the big one go offshore we can get many tens of seconds — up to a minute of advanced warning that the earthquake will be coming your way.”

The early warning system rolled out in California today.

The warning can help give people and big infrastructures time to brace for impact.

The Portland Water Bureau joined in this year’s earthquake drills. Experts explained about the importance of storing water. They recommend 14 gallons of water per person — more if there are pets involved.

Learn more tips from the bureau here.

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