Thursday marks the 10th anniversary of the "Great ShakeOut" earthquake drills that originated in Southern California. In the Bay Area, it's also the day after the 29th anniversary of the Loma Pireta Earthquake which caused about $6-billion worth of damage.
In California, the Great California Shakeout began at 10:18 a.m. Participants dropped to the ground, took shelter under desks or tables and held on. The state's two major events are outside Los Angeles City Hall and in the San Francisco Bay area's Berkeley Civic Center Park.
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In the Bay Area, the big draw included the earthquake simulator called The Big Shaker. Inside the trailer, a small living room complete with couches, bookshelves and various home items. Janiele Maffei of the California Earthquake Authority was inside showing participants the uses of earthquake putty to keep belongings on shelves and high up places from falling and special straps to keep electronics and furniture in place.
As ABC7 news anchor Dion Lim sat down with Maffei for an interview, the Big Shaker ramped up to a magnitude 8 and shook the trailer to illustrate how an earthquake can happen at any time.
Maffei says a quake as large as the 1989 Loma Pireta happens somewhere in the world every two to three days. While it's rare for such a large quake to happen in an urban area, it's still important to prepare.
"These are low probability events that don't happen very often but have high consequences."
Maffei went on to stress Bay Area residents looking into the Brace and Bolt program, which provides qualifying homeowners with a credit to earthquake retrofit their home.
"The whole idea is that a home is the single most important investment we make in our lives. We have vulnerabilities in these houses. The program provides them with $3,000 in grants and registration is open now through November 13th. "
Maffei says Bay Area construction is expensive and these retrofits average about $6,000-- $3,000 goes a long way.
To get more information about the brace and bolt program go here .
Another purpose of Thursday's Shakeout event-- to get California residents in the mindset of being ready. This includes having a proper Earthquake kit ready at all times.
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Skyler Hallgren, co-founder of San Francisco based Earthquake Bag says it's good to have several bags-including one in your car so it's ready to go in case of an evacuation. He says practicing at least once a year on the Great Shakeout can help homeowners remember where their bag is.
If you would like more information about Hallgren's Earthquake Bag product go here.
Click here for more information on this annual earthquake preparedness drill.
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