Oregonians have the opportunity to participate in the Great Shakeout, dubbed the world’s largest earthquake drill, scheduled for 10:17 a.m. on Oct. 17.

As of Oct. 11, more than 600,000 Oregonians had registered for the safety prevention event.

Oregon is earthquake country, according to emergency manager officials. In 1993 western Oregon experienced two damaging earthquakes, a magnitude 5.6 tremor at Scotts Mills and magnitudes 5.9 and 6 at Klamath Falls. Molalla High School and the Oregon Capitol building were severely damaged during the quakes.

In addition to those crustal fault earthquakes, officials said there is evidence that a massive subduction zone earthquake will happen off the coast from Northern California to British Columbia with force similar to that which hit Indonesia in 2004, and Japan in 2011, during subduction zone earthquakes and tsunamis.

By preparing now for future earthquakes, officials said we can protect our homes and families.

Great ShakeOut earthquake drills are designed as an important opportunity to practice how to be safer during earthquakes by knowing how to "Drop, Cover and Hold On."

ShakeOut organizers say that to react quickly when an earthquake strikes, you must practice often. You may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake, before strong shaking knocks you down or drops something on you. You cannot tell from the initial shaking if an earthquake will suddenly become intense.

Shakeout organizers said in most situations, you will reduce your chance of injury if you:

Drop where you are onto your hands and knees.

  • This position protects you from being knocked down and also 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 the 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.

If there is no table or desk near you, drop to the ground and then if possible move to an inside corner of the room. Be in a crawling position to protect your vital organs and be ready to move if necessary, and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.

Do not move to another location or outside. Earthquakes occur without any warning and may be so violent that you cannot run or crawl. You are more likely to be injured if you try to move around during strong shaking.

Emergency preparedness officials say you will never know if the initial jolt will turn out to be start of the big one and that’s why you should always Drop, Cover, and Hold On immediately!

To learn more about protecting yourself during earthquakes, visit www.earthquakecountry.org/step5 and www.ShakeOut.org.

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