Cal State San Bernardino will be part of the annual “Great ShakeOut” earthquake drill on Thursday, Oct. 21, joining hundreds of colleges, universities and other organizations throughout the state, the country and around the world to “drop, cover and hold on.”

The exercise, considered the world’s largest earthquake drill, will take place at 10:21 a.m., said April Wing, manager, CSUSB Emergency Management and Business Continuity. About 5.2 million Californians are expected to participate and over 17.4 million worldwide.

Along with quake preparedness drill, CSUSB geological sciences associate professor Kerry Cato will lead a hike to a section of the San Andreas Fault north of the campus. The group will meet at 9:30 a.m. at the north side of the biology building and walk to the fault, where they will stand on the fault trace during the “virtual earthquake” at 10:21 a.m. People interested in doing the hike should wear good walking shoes, sun protection and bring water.

The ShakeOut drill was created to encourage people and organizations to be prepared in order to survive and recover when the next big earthquake happens. The drill began in California in 2008.

“We want Cal State San Bernardino to know what to do before, during and after an earthquake and any other disaster,” said Wing. “We want the CSUSB community to be prepared to ‘drop, cover and hold on’ when the drill occurs.”

At 10:21 a.m. on Oct. 21, the campus community will be notified via the university’s various communications systems that the campus has experienced a major earthquake. These messages will further test CSUSB’s communications channels through text messaging, voice messages, email, social media and website notices.

The messages will instruct faculty, staff and students who are inside a building to stay where they are and then “drop, cover and hold on.” People on campus who are outside will be asked to move to a clearing away from buildings, power lines or trees.

During the self-led drill, the university encourages students, faculty and staff to practice how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On.” Endorsed by emergency officials and first responders, the safe response to an earthquake is to: 

  • DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby.
  • COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand.
    • If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter
    • If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows).
    • Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs.
  • HOLD ON until shaking stops
    • Under shelter: hold on to it with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts.
    • No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

The earthquake drill also serves as a reminder for individuals to review and update their emergency preparedness plans and supplies, and to secure any furnishings, fixtures and items at home and other locations to prevent damage and injuries.

Officials estimate that an earthquake of a severe magnitude will sever local access to water, electricity, gas, fiber-optics, telecommunications, roads and railways, and that there will be extensive damage throughout the region.

The quakes drills  serve as reminders that large earthquakes can occur with little to no warning. Citizens in the central U.S. are not immune to earthquakes – the region is home to several active seismic zones capable of producing damaging earthquakes, including the New Madrid and Wabash Valley Seismic Zones.

For more information about the event, visit the Great ShakeOut website at shakeout.org.

For more information about Cal State San Bernardino’s participation in the Great ShakeOut, contact April Wing, CSUSB emergency manager, at (909) 537-7477 or April.Wing@csusb.edu.