The California Shakeout

On Oct. 21 at 10:21 a.m., Skyline College and the rest of Calfornia participated in a statewide ShakeOut; where participants were instructed to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” to simulate proper safety measures for a potential earthquake.

The drill lasted about 10 minutes, and included over 7.9 million participants statewide. This is the third year that the Shakeout drill has been practiced, with its roots beginning as The Great Southern California ShakeOut in 2008. The ShakeOut expanded to include all of California in 2009.

The Skyline loudspeaker announced the upcoming drill at 10:15 a.m. and explained the sequence of events that were to follow. By the time the actual drill was in effect at 10:21 a.m., almost all students retreated from classes and buildings so as to not participate.

Marcus Gentero, a third year Skyline student, was amongst the mass of students that did not partake in the drill.

When asked why, he explained, “It seemed kind of silly at first.”

Many of the Skyline students were skeptical in the actual validity and usefulness in the techniques used.

Beatrice Salapago, a Skyline student who also did not participate in the drill, expressed deep concern about crawling under objects during an actual earthquake.

“If there really was an earthquake, what’s the point of staying in the house and hiding beneath objects if the roof can drop on top of you?” said Salapago.

Daniel Rolston, a former Skyline student who is now majoring in Geology at Cal Berkley, explained the necessity for the drill and its importance for the youth of today.

“It is important for [everyone] to learn and practice these methods because of the looming truth that a major earthquake can be just around the corner. Many of the students [at Skyline] today were either much too young or not born when the Loma Prieta earthquake struck in Oct. of 1989.”

Rolston also explained that although it may seem silly to “pretend” and crawl under your desk for an imaginary earthquake, “the techniques you learn can save your life.”

“It is especially important for us, as Bay Area residents, to learn these methods of protection because of our geological location,” continued Rolston. “We are not called ‘Earthquake Country’ for no reason!”

According to the website, earthquakecountry.info, many of the top geological researchers, rescue personnel, and emergency management officials all agree that “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” is the only method to reduce injury and death during major earthquakes. Other methods like standing in a doorway, running outside, and the “triangle of life” method are considered too dangerous and are not suggested over the former method.

Skyline student Jesse Dominguez, who has an Earth Science class, was given great information from his Geology professor.

“My professor gave us valuable information regarding the many lives that were saved when using the ‘Drop, Cover, and Hold On’ techniques,” Dominguez said. “Although I didn’t participate in the ShakeOut because I didn’t have class that day, I am now more knowledgeable on what to do if and when we have another big earthquake.”