Drop, cover and hold on: ShakeOut drill on Thursday

The Great Washington ShakeOut will be Thursday with North Olympic Peninsula’s government agencies, businesses, tribes and others ready to practice what to do when an earthquake strikes.

The shakeout drill will be at 10:19 a.m. in both Clallam and Jefferson counties. The All Hazard Alert Broadcast (AHAB) sirens will be tested at the same time, using the actual siren wail sound.

The ShakeOut is free and open to the public, and participants include individuals, schools, businesses, local and state government agencies, and many other groups.

To take part in the ShakeOut, individuals and organizations are asked to join the drill by registering to participate ShakeOut.org.

Once registered, participants receive regular information on how to plan their drill and become better prepared for earthquakes.

During the self-led drill, participants practice how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On.” Endorsed by emergency officials and first responders, the safe response to an earthquake is to:

Drop where you are, onto your hands and knees; this position protects you from being knocked down and also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby.

Cover your head and neck with one arm and hand. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows). Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs.

Hold on until the shaking stops. If you are under shelter, hold on to it with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts. If not, hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

“You need to practice this drill in order to develop the muscle memory to be able to take the right actions during a disaster,” Clallam County Emergency Management staff said in a press release. “What better time then during ShakeOut?”

Other special events include Jefferson County’s Emergency Operations Center orientation at the Chimacum Fire Station and a demonstration of a Neighborhood Emergency Hub in Port Hadlock. Both required pre-registration for a limited number of slots, and both were filled by Tuesday.

Although those activities are filled, one in Joyce on Thursday remains open to the public. Joyce Emergency Planning and Preparedness volunteers will tell how to anchor and secure propane tanks at Angel Crest Nursery, 58424 state Highway 112 at 1 p.m. Thursday.

“A high number of propane tanks in our communities are not adequately secured to withstand a Cascadia mega-quake event,” said volunteers Judy and Dan Harvey.

Experts say that it is not if, but when, a massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake will strike along the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the Pacific Coast in an 800-mile fault that stretches from southern British Columbia to Northern California. Such a massive quake would isolate the North Olympic Peninsula, cutting off electricity and aid, emergency management officials say.

The Harveys said propane tanks should be strapped down with steel bands because they can become a high risk for fire or explosions during a quake. If they are not adequately secured, they can roll from their stands and break the pipes attached to them.

If they are secured, propane tanks could become a great asset after a major earthquake, providing fuel for cooking or heating, they added.

They also recommend that propane tank owners determine if their system has an automatic seismic shutoff valve installed, and to learn how to manually turn off the supply of gas to their homes as well.

For more information, see https://www.co.jefferson.wa.us/950/Dept-of-Emergency-Management, https://www.clallamcountywa.gov/226/Emergency-Management and https://www.shakeout.org/washington.

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