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Thursday, October 6, 2016

ShakeOut reminds people to Drop, Cover and Hold On

Before I moved to Arizona, I lived in California and Washington. When I was very young in California, I rolled out of bed one night.  I woke up after hitting the floor and , looked up in surprise to see my mom standing over me. When I asked what happened, she said that there had been an earthquake and we needed to crawl under the table. We sat there for a few minutes and then moved into the dining room with my dad and brother. My brother and I peppered my parents with questions about earthquakes, and shared all that we had learned at school about what to do during an earthquake.

In my first grade class, we held earthquake drills. We would crawl under our desks, curl into little balls, cover our necks with our hands, and wait until our teacher said to come out.

The next earthquake I recall was in Washington. I was in my late teens and working in a restaurant. While carrying a tray of food to a table, I stumbled. At first I wondered what I tripped on, but then I noticed that the ceiling lights were swinging back and forth. I froze for a moment, wondering if it would get worse. I put my tray down and crawled under a table with others to wait it out. The earthquake was over as quickly as it began and we all got back to work.

An earthquake is not a hazard most Arizonans think about. They worry about getting through the blistering summer, potential floods and wildfires. However, many were reminded that we do have earthquakes in Arizona last November (2015) when three earthquakes shook the ground across the northern part of the state, with the strongest being a magnitude 4.1.

Active faults run across all parts of Arizona. The Hurricane and Lake Mary Faults run across northern Arizona. The Big Chino Fault is in central Arizona, the Safford Faults  in the eastern part of our state, and the Algondones and Santa Rita Faults run across parts of southern Arizona.

With the potential for earthquakes to affect all of us, it is important to practice what to do during an earthquake. An easy way to do so is to participate in the Great Arizona ShakeOut on October 20 at 10:20 a.m. It’s an easy way to practice Drop, Cover and Hold On. Last year, 74,000 Arizonans participated. Register your family or business and at 10:20 a.m., have everyone drop to the ground, cover their head and neck with their arms and hold on to something study, like a table, if possible.

Before October 20th, prepare your home and your family. Ensure your family communication plan is up-to-date. Include an out-of-town contact and an evacuation plan. Prepare your 72-hour emergency supplies kit (three days worth of food, water and other necessities). Remove any heavy objects that may be over a bed, or above furniture people sit on. Secure heavy objects to the wall so they can’t fall over.

The Arizona Emergency Information Network (AzEIN) has preparedness tips and information about other Arizona hazards.

The Arizona Geological Survey created an interactive website, the AZGS natural hazard viewer, which features four Arizona hazards. 

This blog was written by Aprille S., Public Information Officer for the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.

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