On October 20th and 10:20 am, you are invited to join your fellow Californians in the Great California Shake Out. Participation in ShakeOut is a commitment to practicing Drop, Cover, and Hold On for one minute, no matter where you are. Why is a “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” drill important? To respond quickly you must practice often. You may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake before strong shaking knocks you down, or something falls on you. It is also an opportunity to prepare to survive and recover from whatever disasters may be looming in the future.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that one in two Americans are exposed to potentially damaging shaking where they live. In the 1994 magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake, most injuries were caused by people stepping on fallen or broken objects that were not properly secured. ShakeOut participants can follow steps to protect themselves and their loved ones by securing heavy furniture and valuables; retrofit their property; consider earthquake insurance; organize disaster supplies; and develop a plan to communicate with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

Californians often hear that they live in “earthquake country.” There are good reasons for that:

– Recently, researchers announced the discovery of the Salton Trough fault in Southern California. The discovery was announced just after a swarm of more than 200 small quakes in the Salton Sea prompted an earthquake advisory to be issued.

– Since the magnitude-6.7 earthquake in Northridge in 1994, California has experienced more than 1,100 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater—all around the state.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, 30 of the 48 earthquakes in the United States that have proved deadly have occurred in California.

– Scientists say there’s a 99 percent chance of an earthquake the size of Northridge occurring in California again in the next 30 years.

While the Great California Shake Out is shining a light on earthquake preparedness, particularly how to react when an earthquake hits, it is important to be disaster aware every day. Talk with your insurance professional and pick up some information on making your home and business safer should an earthquake or other calamity strike. While you are at it, take a look at your earthquake coverage to see what financial resources you can rely upon and whether you need to be better insured.