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Prepare yourself for the Big One

Every event has a calendar date these days from pirates to teacher appreciation, and the Great Oregon ShakeOut is no exception. Oregonians participate in ShakeOut annually on the third Thursday in October — tomorrow, Oct. 18, in this case. The movement in motivating the community to participate is actually a partnership, or alliance, between several organizations such as the United States Geological Society, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Science Foundation and more.

The purpose is to prepare for an earthquake, during which the ground and everything else will be shaking. Do you know what to do?

When you register to participate in ShakeOut you are indicating that you will take appropriate action tomorrow at 10:18 a.m. It is important to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” when the ground starts shaking and to practice doing this often because you may only have a few seconds to find something sturdy to get under to protect yourself. Participating in practice drills helps you be ready to respond when the time comes.

Generally speaking, the shaking ground during an earthquake is seldom the cause of injury. Most earthquake-related injuries and deaths are caused by collapsing walls and roofs, flying glass and falling objects. It is extremely important for individuals to move as little as possible to reach a pre-identified place of safety because most injuries occur when people try to move more than a short distance during the shaking.

Look around you right now, and take a moment to identify sturdy furniture that you could make it under in seconds. If you do not have strong, sturdy furniture you may need to look further and identify a supportive interior wall in your home or office building which you could position yourself against. You should always stay in position until the shaking completely subsides. If you exit a structure use extreme caution regarding falling objects.

Consider options for places you visit and work settings. If you are outdoors when the shaking starts, you should find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, streetlights and power lines, then Drop, Cover and Hold On. Stay there until the shaking stops. If you are driving, pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Once the shaking stops, proceed with great caution and avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged.

Participating in the Great Oregon ShakeOut will provide the peace of mind that you will be prepared when an earthquake occurs. ShakeOut is the world’s largest earthquake drill movement. The U.S., Japan, New Zealand and certain Canadian provinces participate. By registering you will be counted as one more person prepared to survive and thrive through an earthquake.

Visit the website, ShakeOut.org, where you can access all kinds of resources, including planning documents, videos, action item checklists for earthquake preparedness at home, school, and work, and much more. This is an invaluable resource and tool for everyone.

Ashland Fire & Rescue encourages you to participate in ShakeOut 2018 on Oct. 18.

Terri Eubanks is Ashland Fire & Rescue’s community preparedness coordinator. You can reach her at terri.eubanks@ashland.or.us. The Alarm Box, a column with local public safety information, appears triweekly in the Tidings.