Orange Coast College students and faculty will be participating in the 13th annual Great Shakeout on Oct. 13 at 10:13 a.m. to practice earthquake preparedness on campus and prompt those remaining at home to always stay alert.
“It's extremely important, not just as a reminder that disaster can strike, but also to kind of get that muscle memory built on what to do,” said Kris Cutting, OCC’s Emergency Response Coordinator.
A text message alert will be sent out to all registered students and staff at OCC this Wednesday at 10:03 a.m. that will instruct everyone to drop, take cover and hold on for a minimum of 60 seconds. The school’s alarm will sound 10 minutes later at 10:13, informing those on campus to evacuate every building and make their way to designated sites. Students and staff who are disabled are not required to evacuate during the drill.
In the event of a real earthquake, properly taking cover is crucial to the safety of everyone involved whether it be in a home, work or school environment.
“Let's say you're under a desk – especially some of the desks on this campus that have wheels or feet – if there's a real earthquake that table could walk away from you. So you want to hold on with one arm to the table, while the other arm protects your head,” Cutting said.
The most recent version of OCC’s evacuation map divides the campus into four sub-quadrants, and one smaller section near the Children’s Center. Building maintenance will be checking classrooms during this time and assure it’s safe to re-enter. Students and employees are advised to review the map prior to the drill on Wednesday. This map is available on OCC’s designated webpage for the event.
OCC’s older buildings have been updated throughout the years to uphold safety standards, and campus structures built more recently, such as the College Center, Student Union and The Harbour are earthquake-proof as well.
“They're all built with the latest earthquake specifications so all the retrofitting was done, but a lot of our buildings are upgraded even if they're older buildings,” Cutting said.
Although the majority of students will not be on campus to actively participate in the Great Shakeout due to remote learning, the event stands as a reminder that natural disaster preparedness is essential to practice at home.
“My recommendation is to have a go bag. If you do have one, I think this is a great reminder to check the stuff in the bag,” Cutting said. “Also, having a plan in place so if we do have to evacuate houses, where do we go?”
Cutting recommended to inform family and friends as soon as disaster strikes, since these circumstances can limit cell service, making it difficult to keep in touch.
“Have an out-of-state contact where you can shoot them a text message, and that way the rest of your family throughout the world can also contact that person and be like ‘hey, I haven't heard from this person in a while, does anybody know if he's okay?’” Cutting said.
Following the Shakeout, a second email regarding the event will be sent to students and faculty. This is required under California’s Clery Law intended to provide transparency around campus crime policy and statistics, according to the Clery Center.
Information on preparing an emergency bag and planning ahead for a natural disaster can be found on the U.S. government’s preparation website.