The Great California ShakeOut

On October 21, 2010, at 10:21 am, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit California along the San Andreas fault…or so went the scenario for The Great California ShakeOut.

I was one of the monitors for Keiro Senior HealthCare’s organization-wide participation in the second year of The Great California ShakeOut, a drill designed to educate the public about how to protect themselves during a large earthquake, and how to get prepared. It was the largest earthquake drill to ever take place in the United States.

According to the scenario, which was also observed by 52,658 organizations, hospitals, schools, businesses, and families throughout the state, the shaking lasted two to three minutes. The earthquake impacted the Southern California region, causing the loss of life of 1,800 people, and massive damage to infrastructure, including critical transportation, power, and water systems.

At 10:21 am, I was in the middle of my weekly meeting with Glen and Walter, Keiro’s extremely competent Information Technology Support Specialists (also knows as the “computer guys.”) As the announcement for the earthquake was announced, accompanied by rumbling sound effects, the fellows immediately went into the “Drop, Cover, Hold On” life safety procedures.

a. DROP to the ground.
b. Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
c. HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

As a drill monitor, it was my job to check to see if all employees in the area started to “Drop, Cover, Hold On,” and note any areas of improvement. Happily, everyone in the area was secured…some ladies went so far under their desks that I couldn’t even see them.

After the shaking stopped, Glen and Walter conducted an assessment of our computer system infrastructure in accordance with their disaster recovery plan.

Participation in The Great California ShakeOut is only one of the thousands of ways that Keiro continuously tries to maintain a safe environment for our residents, volunteers, staff, and visitors. Knowing that genki living begins at home, Keiro also shared with all employees a copy of “Secure It Now!” a publication of the Emergency Survival Program, to help all of us identify potential hazards in our homes and begin to fix them. I want to share this publication with you, a fellow chaos manager for the family.


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