'Great ShakeOut' prepares Bay Area for next quake

The Great California ShakeOut drill takes place Thursday on the 24th anniversary of the deadly Loma Prieta earthquake.
October 17, 2013 12:27:06 PM PDT
The Great California ShakeOut drill took place at 10:17 a.m. Thursday, on the 24th anniversary of the deadly Loma Prieta earthquake.

The magnitude 6.9 quake hit at 5:04 p.m. on October 17, 1989 just as the World Series between the Giants and A's was being televised nationwide. The jolt caused widespread damage across Northern California.

The ShakeOut is a fun event for a serious topic. Unfortunately, scientists can't predict when an earthquake will strike, but people can be prepared.

The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose simulated an earthquake Thursday morning for about 400 students. They joined about 9.5 million others across the state for the 6th annual ShakeOut. It's the largest earthquake drill in the world.

The lesson: Drop, cover and hold on.

"Drop to the ground to get low because these things are going to be, heavy objects are going to be flying off the walls," said Glenn Pomeroy of the California Earthquake Authority. "Cover your head if you can't find a table to get under. Cover your head to avoid things from slamming into you. And then just hold on. Wait until the ground stops shaking."

The mobile earthquake simulator known as the Great Shaker lived up to its name. Kids experienced what an 8.0 earthquake would feel like.

"It was shaking a lot and the books were falling," said student Brandon Ballesteros.

"It feels like everything falls and like us," said student Christian Vasquez.

The simulator is set up like a home with items on the shelves that could be life-threatening during an earthquake.

"You know, about 70 percent of the injuries in an earthquake are actually caused by the things within your home. Like I said, your top-heavy furniture, all of those items that are heavy enough in an earthquake, to hurt you, need to be secured," said Dean Reese of Ready America.

When the shaking stops, supplies will be needed.

The Red Cross recommends that people have an emergency kit with a three day supply of food and water for every member of their family.

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