NOTE: This story was updated on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012.
At 10:18 a.m. Thursday, hundreds of students, government workers and residents all over Healdsburg and Sonoma County will join millions of people statewide in an emergency preparedness drill with a simple directive: Drop. Cover. Hold On.
Locally, Healdsburg Fire Chief Steve Adams will coordinate the annual Great California ShakeOut, which calls for people statewide to pretend to experience a major earthquake and to practice the drill necessary to be safe.
At exactly 10:18 a.m. (on 10/18), participants will drop to the ground before the quake drops you, take cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table and hold on until the shaking stops. Thursday's drill will last for one minute.
Sonoma County will be testing emergency plans and procedures during the Great ShakeOut. The Fire & Emergency Services Department has developed a functional Emergency Operations Center (EOC) training exercise for the County/Operational Area EOC and County disaster response partners.
Approximately 60 county employees, representing many county departments will be participating in the exercise.
The cities of Healdsburg, Petaluma, Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa, along with the Sonoma County Junior College District, Sonoma County Water Agency, 2-1-1 Sonoma County, Red Cross, the Volunteer Center, Redwood Empire Schools Insurance Group, Sonoma County Office of Education and several local hospitals will all be participating on Oct. 18. The objective is to ensure EOCs are able to communicate, coordinate and respond after an earthquake. This exercise will be the capstone of the County's National Preparedness Month “Pledge to Prepare, Awareness to Action” campaign.
As part of this exercise, a series of preparedness messages will be released through the Sonoma County EOC Emergency Bulletin page, website, Facebook and Twitter feeds. These simulated messages are to ensure that public information is released from the EOC in coordination with our protocols and partners. These messages are being posted in lieu of actual emergency information that would be disseminated from the EOC in a real disaster.
“It’s not if, but when,” said Mike Giannini, Emergency Medical Services Battalion Chief for the Marin County Fire Department. “We know that earthquakes are in our future. Now is the time to get ready.”
“One of the keys to survival is to practice and prepare”, he added.
The event started four years ago as the Great Southern California ShakeOut and expanded statewide in 2009. More than 12.9 million people worldwide and 9.1 million people in California have registered to participate on Thursday.
Complete information can be found at www.shakeout.org