City employees to take part in earthquake drill

DOWNEY - All City of Downey employees and the entire Downey Unified School District will participate in a statewide emergency exercise on Thursday morning, Oct. 20.The event, appropriately named the Great Shakeout, is an earthquake based scenario. Last year millions of Californians (including the city and the school district) participated in a similar exercise. Experts believe the Southern California area is overdue for a serious earthquake along one or more of the major fault lines in the area. The predicted earthquake may sever several transportation corridors and interrupt many of the utility supply lines to the Los Angeles basin. A severe earthquake will likely damage or destroy a large number of structures and infrastructure as well. There will be several activities on Thursday. Initially, employees, school district staff and students will 'Drop, Cover and Hold-on'. This action is important when an earthquake begins. Rather than wait for the ground and structure movement to force someone to fall to the ground, experts recommend people inside buildings get to the floor. Then people should find a sturdy table, desk or other large piece of furniture to crawl under (or beside). They should try to cover their heads if possible. Then, they should hold on to the furniture until the shaking stops. Exiting buildings should be carefully done once the shaking stops. City and School district staff and students will then participate in building evacuations to designated areas, followed by roll-calls. Specific staff members will be 'sweeping' all City and DUSD buildings for anyone who may have been left behind during the simulated exercises. Once all the buildings have been evaluated, staff and students will be allowed to re-enter and get back to their business. City Police, Fire and Public Works crews will be performing choreographed assessments of the City and reporting to a small staff at the City Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Other simulated emergencies will be staged by City and School District staffs as well. Experts, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross, recommend all residents and businesses obtain enough supplies for their food, water, medical, first-aid and shelter needs to last 3-7 days. Developing emergency plans and learning first-aid and other emergency skills are also highly recommended. Preparing for an earthquake scenario will likely provide the preparation necessary for most other emergency scenarios such as power or supply shortages, limited flooding or winter storms. Questions or comments can be directed to -Mark Sauter, city of Downey

********** Published: October 13, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 26