Sounds of rumbling floors, cracking walls, shattering glass and blaring alarms were heard along California’s North Coast and Oregon’s South Coast.
Fortunately, this 60-second earthquake audio clip was only a disaster drill broadcast from Humboldt State University by KHSU public radio.
Radio listeners were instructed to “drop, cover, and hold on” for the 10th annual Great ShakeOut, an event observed by about 38,000 in Humboldt County out of more than 23 million people worldwide, but were not given much instruction on what to do before or after an earthquake.
“(My mom) does not speak English, she doesn’t know how to drive, and she doesn’t know how to buy an Amtrak ticket,” HSU senior Nahomi Rodriguez said. “I plan because I’m so far from home, and I don’t want my family to be nervous.”
Humboldt County is rated highest for potential earthquakes, landslides and tsunamis according to a 2014 United States Geological Survey seismic hazard index. Residents are urged to protect themselves by becoming more informed, by assembling disaster kits and by creating emergency plans.
Cris Jones Koczera, HSU emergency management coordinator and former disaster program manager for the American Red Cross of Humboldt and Del Norte counties, believes that the most simplistic plans make a big difference.
“It doesn’t have to take a lot. It’s the conversation with your roommates or the conversation with your families,” Koczera said.
As the emergency management student assistant, Rodriguez works directly with Koczera to facilitate training sessions such as the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Academy. CERT is comprised of HSU students, staff and faculty who train and respond to incidents on campus when professional first responders are occupied.
“The basic idea is that we have a group of people that, if it all hit the fan, know what needs to happen and can kind of prioritize help, and hopefully manage some of the chaos,” Koczera said.
While CERT provides trained aid to emergency professionals, lay community members can take simple steps.
“Whatever plans you make, practice them,” Rodriguez said. “You don’t want a plan to fail when you need it.”
EARTHQUAKE SAFETY MATERIALS
Guide to disaster readiness:
Practice for earthquake scenarios:
The Great ShakeOut https://www.shakeout.org/
Essential items and survival tips:
Living on Shaky Groundhttp://www2.humboldt.edu/shakyground/