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What’s Shakin’ at Union Station?

SoCal Great California Shakeout
“Take a moment to remember: the power’s out, alarms are sounding, your phone doesn’t work and roads are inaccessible. This is the moment you have to plan for.” - L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

Nine million Californians in schools, offices and hospitals dropped, covered and held on at exactly 10:18 a.m. on 10/18 as part of the Great California ShakeOut, the largest earthquake preparedness drill in the U.S.

In the east portal of downtown L.A.’s Union Station, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones, Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member Richard Katz and Paul Schulz, CEO, Red Cross Los Angeles Region ducked and covered under a large red table to demonstrate what to do during a quake.

Downtown commuters joined Red Cross volunteers and others in dropping to ground and covering their necks for 60 seconds bracing for the simulated 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

Red Cross L.A. Region CEO Paul Schulz and Red Cross volunteers give the thumbs up after participating in the Great California ShakeOut.

The Great Shake Out, the world’s largest earthquake preparedness drill, is meant to get people ready for the Big One, and local leaders stressed the importance of not being complacent.

“Hope doesn’t save lives – preparation does,” said L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “Take a moment to remember: the power’s out, alarms are sounding, your phone doesn’t work and roads are inaccessible. This is the moment you have to plan for.”

Paul Schulz reinforced the importance of the Red Cross message to get a kit, make a plan and be informed. “People are put in a scary situation during a quake, but if they practice, they are less likely to panic.”

This is the first time the drill has focused on commuters. There are about 250,000 people in Southern California who commute across the San Andreas fault. But being in public transportation can be a good option says USGS seismologist Lucy Jones.

“Earthquake shaking doubles at the earth’s surface, so being underground is actually a very safe place to be during an earthquake.”

photo by Roxanne Schorbach