How To Participate In The Great Shakeout 2018

Picture of Mary Kate McGrath By Mary Kate McGrath

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Great Shakeout

(Updated on 10/10/2018) The Great Shakeout 2018 event is on October 18th at 10:18 am, and communities around the globe will take part.

It is never too soon to prepare your community for a weather disaster that's near impossible to predict. While earthquakes primarily occur along major fault lines, they are a threat in every part of the world and can occur at any time.  Residents everywhere should have a reaction plan, whether they are in the car, at school or work, or in their homes. The Great Shakeout 2018 is an annual event that promotes earthquake preparedness, and is an opportunity to practice how to protect oneself during an emergency.

Earthquake in Indonesia

In September 2018, a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Indonesia, the twin disasters killing over 2,000 people. The historical events disrupted entire cities and towns, and the road to recovery will be long. Approximately 74,000 people lost their homes, and will live in refugee camps for the foreseeable future. Indonesia exists in one of the world’s most seismically active regions, the tragic event served as a reminder to nations across the world that earthquake readiness is an absolute necessity.

While many natural disasters, such as hurricanes or wildfires, are becoming more frequent due to climate change, the rate of earthquakes and tidal waves remains relatively stable. However, the damage these events cause and the threat to human life is increasing. This is due to the increase in city populations, as more people are moving into metropolitan areas and surrounding themselves with bridges, buildings, and roads, all of which can become dangerous during the seismic event. This emphasizes the need for proper earthquake awareness and planning in all communities, and the Great Shakeout is a good practice. 

What is the earthquake risk for your region?

History shows that most earthquakes occur in along the known fault lines of the earth, but that doesn’t mean that regions perceived to be less vulnerable areas shouldn’t practice. The top layers of the earth, the crust and mantle, are in large puzzle-like pieces called tectonic plates. The edges of these plates are called boundaries, which are made up of many faults.  As the tectonic plates move slowly along the molten core of the earth, the faults’ rough edges get stuck and results in an earthquake. If your community is located along a fault line or the edge of an oceanic or continental plate, there is a significantly higher earthquake risk.

great shakeout 2017

Indonesia, of course, is not the only area on earth impacted by seismic activity. Many regions in the United States are highly susceptible to earthquakes. For instance, the city of Los Angeles and regions along the Pacific Northwest are located directly on a fault line, which could see disastrous activity within the next fifty years. What's more, recent studies reveal the potential for earthquakes along all coastal regions in the US, not just in the areas along the major fault lines, thus confirming the earth’s geological movement is even more unpredictable than we once thought.

If you don’t live in an area with regular earthquake activity, it is still critical that you educate your community about the nature of earthquakes and encourage people to participate in the Great Shakeout 2018 training drills.

Earthquake Preparedness and Response Technology

Due to the unpredictable and damaging nature of earthquake incidents, the importance of having access to not only an industry-leading notification system, but also knowledge of where vulnerable individuals reside and work to ensure resources are prioritized accordingly becomes evermore critical. However, there are a number of challenges associated with registry solutions when it comes to maintaining critical information about people requiring extra assistance during a mass-threatening event. The leading challenges include: 1) Scalability, 2) Interoperability, 3) Data Privacy, and 4) Public Response.

Rave Prepare is the leading emergency management and communication technology which allows municipalities to quickly and easily collect and maintain up-to-date and detailed information about the residents and commuters within their jurisdiction who could be considered vulnerable, which can be significant in an earthquake emergency situation. Each of the four major challenges associated with effectively managing emergency preparedness information on a broad set of the population are addressed through preparedness technology.

About The Great Shakeout 2018

The Great Shakeout 2018 is on October 18th, and is expected to draw over 19.3 million participants in the United States.

It's an international event where communities around the globe practice earthquake drills to help minimize the impact and keep their people safe in the event of a disaster. It will teach people to protect themselves and spread the word. The drills follow a procedure that is agreed to be effective by federal, state, and local emergency managers. Drop, Cover, and Hold On is the recommended action to take during an earthquake, and the Shakeout is a chance to practice how to do just that. Here is a breakdown of what each action means:

  • Drop: Wherever you are, drop to your knees. This will prevent you from being knocked down, and also allow you to crawl to a nearby shelter.
  • Cover: If a table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it. If not, crawl next to an interior wall away from windows and large furniture, then cover your head and neck with your hands. Be sure to stay on your knees and bent over to protect vital organs.
  • Hold On: If possible, hold onto shelter and be ready to move if it shifts. If there’s no shelter, hold on to your head and neck.

Rescue teams and emergency preparedness experts recommend “Drop, Cover, and Hold On" because moving during a quake puts you at greater risk -- the most significant dangers are from flying objects and debris, and buildings are not likely to collapse during an earthquake.

How can communities, agencies and organizations participate in the Great Shakeout 2018?

Emergency managers, local leaders, school administrators, and business organizations can and are encouraged to participate in this event. The drill is simple – at 10:19 am participants drop to the ground, take cover by getting under a sturdy table or desk, and hold on until the “shaking stops”. FEMA strongly encourages local officials to participate as part of America’s Prepareathon, and additional resources on how to sign up and craft a campaign can be found the Great Shakeout’s website.

“Practicing what to do during an earthquake could save your life,” former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said. “Everyone should know how to drop to the ground, cover themselves under a sturdy table or desk, and hold onto it until the shaking stops.”

This drill is a unique opportunity to test emergency notification systems and other safety management technology. Columbia College in Missouri will use the Great Shakeout to test their Rave emergency management system, which is used to alert faculty and students of emergencies over e-mail, text, and phone call. “We’re not so much doing a drill on campus,” Fleury told the Columbia Missourian. “We’ll send out a test RAVE alert to everyone that is registered. That’s what we’re doing to make everyone aware.”

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Mary Kate McGrath

Written by Mary Kate McGrath

Mary Kate is a content specialist and social media manager for the Rave Mobile Safety team. She writes about public safety for the state & local and education spheres.

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