The Great Washington ShakeOut is next week and the public is encouraged to “Drop, Cover and Hold On” for the international earthquake drill.
The drill will take place at 10:17 a.m. next Thursday all over the world.
As of Thursday afternoon, there were 8,006 people registered to participate in Jefferson County and 14,981 registered in Clallam County, according to the national registry at shakeout.org.
However, more are expected to participate, even if they’re not registered, said Keppie Keplinger, public information officer with the Department of Emergency Management in Jefferson County.
“Just because they haven’t registered doesn’t mean they’re not going to participate,” Keplinger said. “It’s just one extra step.”
The ShakeOut began in southern California in 2008 and is now a worldwide endeavor.
The point of this worldwide drill is to allow the public to practice how to respond to an emergency earthquake situation and it is especially imperative to this area, due to the Cascadia Subduction Zone, where a large scale earthquake is possible and smaller earthquakes are common.
“We live in this completely vulnerable area,” said Ron Cameron, Clallam County undersheriff and Emergency Operations Center director. “Particularly with the recent attention to the Cascadia possibility.
“A couple of things that people can do for the shakeout is remind themselves we live here.
“Utilize the exercise to practice a drop, cover and hold or at the very least take that time if they’re in a business environment or commercial environment to work on discussions about what you would do if we went through a 9.0 earthquake all of a sudden and we’re subjected to a big shake like that,” Cameron continued.
Both Jefferson and Clallam counties will hear the local All Hazard Alert Broadcasting sirens starting at 10:17 a.m. playing the actual tsunami warning tone as part of the drill.
Other ways to prepare for an earthquake is having a month’s supply of non-perishable food and water stored at home and 24 to 48 hours of food and water with warm clothes and blankets stored in your vehicle, Cameron said.
“Being ready for such an event that nobody alive has experienced is difficult to articulate,” Cameron said. “Because no one knows the answer to that question. But some of the things you can do is have things available that you know won’t be available when that happens.”
Those things could be electricity, running water and sewage/septic, Cameron said.
School districts in both counties will be participating, as well as several businesses are registered.
“If the earth starts to shake,” Keplinger said, “people will have the muscle memory to know to drop, cover and hold.”
Tsunamis may occur after an earthquake in both counties, and the state Department of Natural Resources has evacuation maps that can be found at tinyurl.com/PDN-Tsunami map.
Both counties encourage the public to have a contingency plan in place, in case of a natural disaster such as an earthquake or tsunami.
To register for the Great ShakeOut or to see who is participating, go to shakeout.org.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5 or at [email protected].