Employees at City Hall in El Cerrito took shelter under conference tables and desks at 10:17 a.m. Thursday during the Great California ShakeOut, a statewide earthquake drill held on the anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that caused major damage around the Bay Area.
The Earthquake Country Alliance called participation in sixth annual event the largest yet:
The 2013 6th annual Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill on October 17 exceeded all expectations. More than 9.6 million Californians – many following specific drill broadcast instructions on more than 70 California radio and television stations – simultaneously practiced the “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” drill recommended by experts as essential for avoiding injury and even death in the event of a major earthquake.
Battalion Chief Michael Bond of the El Cerrito Fire Department said that during an earthquake all residents should be ready to “stop, drop and cover” under a sturdy place or piece of furniture, rather than trying to run outside. “Don’t try to get out, that’s about the time when stuff starts collapsing and debris starts falling.”
Also, “When you do go out, look for hazards” such as fallen electrical lines, he added.
As for advance preparation, “We encourage everbody in the city to participate in the CERT (community emergency response team) training,” Bond said.
Families should also designate a place to meet after an event.
At El Cerrito’s new City Hall, the city council chambers are equipped to be used as an emergency command center, with satellite phones and a power generator, said City Manager Scott Hanin.