UC Berkeley to participate in statewide earthquake drill Thursday

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UC Berkeley will participate in a statewide earthquake drill Thursday morning to prepare for a major earthquake.

UCPD will sound sirens about 10:17 a.m. and notify students and staff of the drill and ask participants to drop, cover and hold on. Participants are expected to hide under their desks for 30 seconds to a minute.

This event, known as the Great California ShakeOut, began in Southern California in 2008. Since then, a number of other states and countries, including multiple states in the central United States, southern Italy and Japan, have started their own drills.

More than 9.5 million people in California registered to take part in the event this year, with slightly more than 300,000 of the participants in Alameda County.

John Ruiz, UC Berkeley’s emergency management coordinator, said he hopes the majority of students, faculty and staff members will participate but does not expect that professors will disrupt their classes to join.

Three of the hazard warning sirens, which are activated by UCPD, are located at Wurster Hall, Evans Hall and Tolman Hall. The fourth siren, previously at Eshleman Hall, was relocated after the building was demolished this summer.

“For us who live in the Bay Area where there is such a great earthquake risk, learning the skills of drop, cover and hold on is essential,” Ruiz said. “The safest thing to do is drop to the ground, cover yourself under a desk and hold on, because (the desk) will move.”

On Tuesday, Berkeley was shaken by a series of earthquakes, including one at magnitude 3.2 and two more about an hour later at magnitude 2.7 and magnitude 2.6. The epicenters of the earthquakes were just northeast of the UC Berkeley campus in Tilden Regional Park.

San Francisco Bay Area faces a 63 percent chance of a 6.7 magnitude or larger earthquake occurring by 2037, according to a 2008 study organized by the Southern California Earthquake Center, the U.S. Geological Survey and the California Geological Survey.

“If you’re in a lecture hall, can you imagine if 400 plus students ran to stand under a doorway? They’d be trampled,” said Michelle Carney, president of the American Red Cross at Cal.

To educate the Berkeley community, the club has partnered with the UC Berkeley Office of Emergency Management to host an event near Sather Gate from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to teach visitors how to properly react during an earthquake, build an emergency kit and receive emergency training.

Igor Tregub, vice chair of the Berkeley Housing Advisory Commission, said that to best be prepared in the event of an earthquake, residents should have enough food and water to last for 48 hours in case emergency responders cannot reach them in time and have a master checkpoint to meet-up with floor mates to ensure every person is accounted for.

Contact Michelaina Johnson and Daphne Chen at [email protected]

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