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In this file photo, Keya Cason, left, and Diana Cabral take cover under a table during the Great Shake Out drill in 2010.

Californians prepare for the Big One


If an earthquake occurs while you are driving:

• Safely pull over to the side of the road, stop and set the parking break.

• Avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards.

• Stay inside the vehicle until shaking is over.

• If a power line falls on the car, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.

If an earthquake occurs while you are in a building:

• Move no more than a few steps then drop to the ground, take cover under a sturdy table or desk and hold on until the shaking stops.

Source: San Bernardino County Fire Department

At 10:18 a.m. Thursday, more than 9 million Californians are expected to participate in what is being called the world's biggest earthquake drill — a hypothetical 7.8 magnitude earthquake along the San Andreas fault that will "rock" southern California, causing a simulated emergency that officials hope will better prepare people when the next big earthquake happens.

According to the San Bernardino County Fire Department, more than a half million people in San Bernardino County have registered for this event, all of whom have pledged to follow the emergency “drop, cover and hold on” protocol set forth by the Earthquake Country Alliance.

This alliance, which is a partnership of federal, state, local and community organizations, has hosted the Great California Shakeout every year on Oct. 18 since 2008. Many western states — and countries around the world — participate in the Great ShakeOut, which had 12.5 million participants worldwide last year, according to shakeout.org.

This year, local agencies all across the High Desert will be participating in the ShakeOut, including the Apple Valley Fire Protection District and the Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company.

Laura Whitehead, who is the Emergency Services Officer for the AVFPD, Apple Valley Unified School District and the town of Apple Valley, said that all three of these agencies will be practicing the “drop, cover and hold on,” procedures at exactly 10:18 a.m. today.

The AVFPD is also partnering up with the Victor Valley Museum in Apple Valley on Friday for an Earthquake Preparedness Fair aimed to inspire local residents to get ready for big earthquakes and learn how to protect themselves, according to a press release from the San Bernardino County Museum.

Kathleen Springer, senior curator of geological sciences at the San Bernardino County Museum, will present the “Science Behind the ShakeOut,” which will explain the reasons and repercussions of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Southern California. Springer will be joined by 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, Richard McCarthy, executive Director of the California Seismic Safety Commission, and Sid Holtquist, fire chief of the AVFPD.

Whitehead said a fire engine will be present along with members of the Community Emergency Response Teams and the American Red Cross. Admission to the museum will be waived from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday.

For more information on the Earthquake Preparedness Fair at the Apple Valley Museum, visit www.SBCountyMuseum.com.

Lynnea Lombardo may be reached at (760) 951-6232 or at LLombardo@VVDailyPress.com.

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