DOWNEY - The 2009 Great California Shake Out is the name of this year's planned statewide emergency exercise. The exercise will occur on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 10:15 a.m.Millions of people will participate in the exercise this year. The objective of the emergency exercise is to remind everyone of the ever present possibility of a major earthquake and to convince them to take positive steps to plan ahead for their individual, family and workplace needs. Everyone needs to develop an emergency plan, accumulate emergency supplies including food, water and medicine and be aware of the potential situations that could occur in their area. On Thursday morning, city staff and the public safety departments will practice their skills during (and after) a simulated major earthquake. Field units from the Police, Fire and Utilities Divisions will carry-out pre-assigned emergency duties immediately after the simulated quake occurs. City Hall emergency operations will be exercised as well. The Downey Unified School District will exercise their emergency plans on Thursday morning as well. Many schools will be the host of simulated emergencies requiring rescue actions and district wide communications. All residents, students and businesses are encouraged to practice their own emergency action skills by conducting Drop, Cover and Hold-on drills. Practicing the act of 'dropping' under a table, desk or large piece of stable furniture, 'covering' ones head and neck and 'holding on' to the piece of furniture (away from a glass window) is the best way to survive the immediate dangers during the shaking phase of an earthquake. Fire Department sirens may be heard across the city at 10:15 a.m. to remind everyone to practice these important, life-saving skills. Once the shaking stops after an actual earthquake, those inside the building can then evaluate the condition of their surroundings and determine the best way to leave the premises. Many people have been killed or injured trying to leave a building during the shaking phase of an earthquake. More information on Drop, Cover and Hold-on can be found at: www.dropcoverholdon.org Sometimes earthquakes occur when people are not at home, school or work. During times when standard Drop, Cover and Hold-on procedures are not possible, consider the following recommendations. •When driving: Safely pull to the side of the road and set the parking brake. Avoid stopping under bridges, overpasses, power lines and other overhead hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking stops. If an electrical line falls on top of the car, stay inside until a trained professional can remove the line. •When in a stadium, theater or assembly place such as a church: Stay at your seat and protect your head and neck, consider dropping below the level of the seats in the area or taking refuge under a nearby table. Do not attempt to leave until the shaking stops. When leaving the building, watch for items that have toppled over and items that may fall during the after shocks. •When outdoors: Look for a clear place to hunker down. Keep away from overhead hazards such as signs, power lines and structures (especially those with exterior windows that could shatter and rain down on pedestrians). Do not get too close to vehicles or other large objects that may shift during the shaking. More information is available at www.Ready.gov and www.shakeout.org.
********** Published: October 9, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 25