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Campus Participates in Earthquake Drill


UC Riverside Participates in Simulated Earthquake Response Drill

Campus community joins Southern Californians in the largest-scale earthquake drill in U.S. history

(November 13, 2008)

At an Earthquake Fair held on campus Nov. 13, faculty in the Earth Sciences Department explain how earthquakes propagate.  Photo credit: UCR Strategic Communications.  (Additonal photos below.)Enlarge

At an Earthquake Fair held on campus Nov. 13, faculty in the Earth Sciences Department explain how earthquakes propagate. Photo credit: UCR Strategic Communications. (Additonal photos below.)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – UC Riverside participated in an earthquake drill today as part of the Great Southern California ShakeOut, the largest-scale earthquake drill in the history of the country.

Involving the participation of students, faculty and staff, the exercise simulated the response to a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the southernmost 300 km of the San Andreas Fault.

At 10 a.m., a new “campus warning siren” was tested, marking the time of the simulated earthquake.

“That’s when everyone indoors on campus was urged to drop, cover, and hold on for 60 seconds,” said David Oglesby, an associate professor of geophysics and one of the organizers of the campus drill. “Drop, cover, and hold on is the best course of action during an earthquake. If you were outside, you were urged to move away from buildings and trees, and drop to the ground.”

The “drop, cover and hold on” protocol asks that a person drop to the ground, take cover by ducking under a desk or table, and hold on until the shaking has ceased. Studies show that in a real emergency, “muscle memory” can help people respond quickly even while the mind is in shock.

As part of the drill, UCR’s Emergency Management Organization conducted activation exercises for the Emergency Operations Center as well as several Satellite Emergency Operations Centers, and tested the university’s emergency communications capabilities.

An Earthquake Fair, hosted by the Department of Earth Sciences, took place 11 a.m.—1.p.m. on Pierce Lawn, near the Bell Tower on campus. Designed to help answer questions raised by the ShakeOut drill, the fair featured earthquake preparedness tips, displays, demonstrations, and educational activities on the science of earthquakes.

Included in the fair were real-time current Southern California seismicity; displays on historical earthquakes and their effects; a display on the specific ShakeOut scenario earthquake; a demonstration of how earthquake faults operate; a simple seismograph that displayed people’s jumps and stomps; a laptop-based seismograph network; and information for the public on what to do during an earthquake.

“Vendors offered home, office, and lab emergency preparedness kits and supplies,” said Paul Walker, emergency services manager, UCR Environmental Health and Safety. “The City of Riverside and Riverside County had information about their emergency preparedness efforts.”

The next campus-wide earthquake drill will take place in 2010 at a date to be decided.

“In the intervening period, we plan to have smaller group exercises, with successively larger exercises, as we build, test, and grow our capabilities,” Walker said.

Oglesby stressed the importance of a number of people on campus having participated in today's drill.

“It’s not a question of whether but when Southern California is hit by a large earthquake,” he said. “Exercises like the one we had today prepare us better for dealing with the Big One when it comes, perhaps in our own lifetime.”

UCR is a core member of the Southern California Earthquake Center, which is one of the co-sponsors of ShakeOut.

For more information on the ShakeOut drill throughout Southern California, visit www.shakeout.org.
Drop, cover, and hold on is the best course of action during an earthquake.  Photo credit: UCR Strategic Communications.Enlarge

Drop, cover, and hold on is the best course of action during an earthquake. Photo credit: UCR Strategic Communications.

At an Earthquake Fair held on campus Nov. 13, David Oglesby, an associate professor of geophysics, describes the fault map of Southern California to a member of the UCR community.  Photo credit: UCR Strategic Communications.Enlarge

At an Earthquake Fair held on campus Nov. 13, David Oglesby, an associate professor of geophysics, describes the fault map of Southern California to a member of the UCR community. Photo credit: UCR Strategic Communications.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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