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University preps for earthquake

Leopards stop, drop and cover as part of the Great California Shake Out.

Aisha Gonzales
Staff Writer

Students, faculty and staff at the University of La Verne dropped and covered at exactly 10:15 a.m. Oct. 15 for “The Great California Shake Out” earthquake drill.

For the second year, ULV has registered to participate in the statewide earthquake drill devised by members of the Earthquake Country Alliance.

Campus safety asked that those on university grounds drop, cover and hold for one minute at the scheduled time to adhere to the demonstration’s instructions.

“A lot of people do not take earthquakes seriously,” Michael Nunez, director of campus safety, said.

“They think it may happen, but they think it is something they do not have to worry about.

“Unlike tornado warnings, you are not always aware when an earthquake is going to occur,” he added.

Since earthquakes are at most times unanticipated and startling, many people react in a state of distress from the start of the trembling.

The drill was designed as practice for future earthquakes on campus.

“People’s first reaction when an earthquake occurs is to run and that is the last thing you want to do,” Nunez said regarding the objective of the drill.

“You first should drop and cover, and when the earthquake has stopped, then you should safely exit the building.”

The drill formed by the ECA demands that three steps be exercised during the drill; drop to the floor, take cover under a desk or table, and hold on firmly.

When there is no desk or table near, the ECA recommend that participants drop to the floor near a wall and cover their head with their arms.

“I work in Woody Hall and we were told about the drill. My supervisor even cleared a path to an exit door she has in her office,” Amanda Santos, Academic Advising Intern, said.

“We were wondering if there was going to be an alarm that went off to signal the earthquake drill.

“When we didn’t hear anything we talked with each other about what we would do if an earthquake were to happen.

“Since the drill was to drop and cover we said we would go under our desks,” she added.

The Earthquake Country Alliance, a statewide alliance that links public organizations that provide earthquake information and services, invite families, businesses and schools to register on their website to become part of one of the largest earthquake drills.

Nearly 5.5 million people in southern California participated in the Shake Out in 2008, that number was exceeded in 2009.
This year nearly 6.9 million people registered.

Out of those participants, 2.6 million were from Los Angeles County.

In addition, 456,493 participants are the 72 Southern California colleges and universities registered online.

Many of ULV’s neighboring universities that participated in the drill include Harvey Mudd, Pitzer College, Loyola Marymount, University of California at Los Angeles and Cal Poly Pomona.

The ECA website warns registered members that there is a 50 percent chance of an earthquake with the magnitude of 7.5 or greater said to occur somewhere in California in the next 30 years.

On account of this fact, the ECA provides its participants with updates on earthquake reports in their area to better alert them of activity.

“I’m happy that the University is concerned with our safety when it comes to earthquakes,” sophomore Jessica Reza said.

“There are plenty of unexpected earthquakes in California and students should be aware of what to do if one were to occur during the school year.”

Aisha Gonzales can be contacted at aisha.gonzales@laverne.edu.

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