UCR gets ready for the Great California ShakeOut

The earthquake drill will test emergency response and assessment

October 9, 2019
Author: Imran Ghori
October 9, 2019

UC Riverside will join more than 10 million Californians in testing earthquake preparedness as part of the annual Great California ShakeOut on Oct. 17.

Students, staff, and faculty members will be asked to “drop, cover, and hold on” for 1 minute during the earthquake drill that will start at 10:17 a.m.

The campus will test its emergency communication systems during the self-led drill that will include text, email, and voicemail alerts. Emergency messages will also be posted on social media, all campus computer screens, and some campus websites. The emergency beacon in the bell tower will also be tested as part of the drill.

Fire alarms will sound in four campus buildings: the Orbach and Rivera libraries, the Geology building, and Student Health Center, all of which will be evacuated during the exercise.

KUCR Radio (88.3 FM) will play a two-minute clip providing its audience with emergency instructions at 10:17 a.m.

Emergency officials say the safest response to an earthquake is to drop, cover, and hold on. That involves dropping to your hands and knees; covering your head and neck with one hand and crawling under a table or desk for shelter if nearby; and holding on until the shaking stops.

“The objective of the ShakeOut drill is to test our earthquake plan,” said Matt Mahaffey, emergency management coordinator with UCR’s Office of Emergency Management. “We’re getting people prepared.”

The drill will allow the campus to evaluate the personal preparedness of students, staff, and faculty members, as well as UCR’s emergency notification system. 

A new feature in this year’s drill is a mock damage assessment of the campus performed by personnel from each building who serve as the lead point for emergency programs as part of the volunteer Building Supervisors for Emergency Conditions and Building Emergency Staff  programs.

Police will also conduct a quick visual assessment while police dispatch will get reports from Housing Services and Facilities Services on the status of student housing, utilities, and the steam plant.

The Emergency Operations Center will collect the damage reports and wrap up the exercise with a campuswide email at 11:30 a.m.

The Great ShakeOut is held each year on the third Thursday of October and is coordinated by the state of California, the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium, the U.S. Geological Survey, and dozens of other partners.

For general information on the drill throughout Southern California visit shakeout.org/california. For earthquake preparedness tips, please visit 7 Steps to Earthquake Safety.