Maybe Now’s the Time to Learn to ‘Drop, Cover, Hold On’

Recommended Earthquake Safety Actions © 11/4/2016 Earthquake Country Alliance

Some of us may already have registered for the Oct. 17 Great ShakeOut, an opportunity to learn how to drop, cover and hold on during the inevitable next great earthquake. But, given the rumbles we’ve felt in West Hollywood (and across Southern California) in recent days it would be wise to start preparing now.

The County of Los Angeles’ Office of Emergency Management urges the public to follow these earthquake tips:

If you experience shaking, “Drop” to the floor; take “Cover” under a piece of furniture or protect your head and neck with one arm/hand; and “Hold On” to the piece of furniture’s leg to keep it from shifting or uncovering you until the shaking completely stops.

If you are in a wheelchair or walker and are unable to take cover, “Lock” your wheels; “Cover” your head and neck area with a pillow or some type of object that will deflect the debris from falling on to you, and “Hold On.”

Never run out of buildings during an earthquake since most people are injured by falling debris as they try to exit buildings during the shaking.

Fires may be common after severe earthquakes due to ruptured gas lines. Locate your gas valve and turn off your gas only if you smell gas.

Have a “go-kit” by your bedside, in your vehicle and at work. Your kit should include the following items: extra battery or charger for your cell phone, flashlight, radio, extra prescription medicine(s), and an extra pair of glasses if you use them. Have a pair of sneakers by your bedside.

To receive emergency notifications from authorities, register for Alert LA County at Cities, special districts, employers, schools, and universities may have their own notification systems.  Make sure you research which other systems are available in your community and sign up so that you are informed when there is a local emergency.

For more information on how to prepare for earthquakes and other hazards and threats in Los Angeles County, download a free copy of the County of Los Angeles Emergency Survival Guide at or request a free copy by dialing 2-1-1.  The Earthquake Country Alliance offers seven steps online for preparing for, surviving and recovering from an earthquake.

And on Monday, West Hollywood’s Public Safety Commission will join the effort as it considers “Emergency Preparedness and Neighborhood Partnerships”  — suggestions for involving West Hollywood residents and neighborhood groups in emergency preparedness.  The city currently hosts an emergency preparedness webpage, annual CERT (community emergency response team) training, and occasional emergency preparedness information events.  The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m., at Plummer Park Community Center, Rooms 5 and 6, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd.

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Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies

LA County residents should also download ShakeAlertLA, a mobile app that sends alerts to users within Los Angeles County that an earthquake of greater than magnitude 5.0 or level IV intensity (after feedback from the recent quakes, they have lowered the magnitude to 3.0) has been detected and that they may soon feel shaking. The app is available for both Apple and Android devices and available in both English and Spanish. You can also use this app to prepare for an earthquake, get details on recent earthquakes, and find help after an earthquake.