A Simple Guide to Earthquake Safety Drills In The Workplace

October 18, 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of The Great ShakeOut, an annual practice of earthquake safety that occurs across the nation.

If you’ve experienced an earthquake before, then you know how scary they can be. Watching the ground shake and rumble often creates confusion and panic; and even if you know what to do, it can be hard to get the people around you to follow suit.

If you’ve never experienced an earthquake before, then being prepared is crucial. When an earthquake brakes out, people who don’t follow recommended protocols often put themselves and others in danger.

Really, there is no reason not to be sufficiently versed in proper procedures. Why? They’re so easy to understand and execute!

In honor of the Great Shakeout, we’ve prepared a simple guide to help employers conduct effective earthquake safety drills in the workplace. Both earthquake veterans and skeptical novices will soon come away with the knowledge needed to ShakeOut like true professionals.

Step 1: Learn & Teach Drop, Cover, & Hold On

Drop, Cover, & Hold On is the ultimate quake-safe action designed to protect lives from falling or flying objects. To execute the drop, cover, & hold on procedure, follow each move step-by-step:

    • Drop to your hands and knees immediately. This position gives you stability: if you don’t drop, the quake could knock you down violently. Staying low also allows you to crawl to  nearby shelter. 
    • Cover your head and neck with one arm and hand; bend over to protect your vital organs. Next, look for a sturdy table or desk to crawl underneath for added protection. If there is no shelter nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows).
    • Hold On to something sturdy, like the leg of a table, until the shaking stops. Holding on will give you added stability in case your body is pushed by the force of the quake.

Step 2: Define Cover Areas

As an employer or safety manager, it is important that you define recommended cover areas in your workplace. Before executing the drill, make sure that people know where to take cover, regardless of where they may be at the time of an earthquake. For example, if an employee is walking the halls during a quake, then they should try to quickly spot a windowless wall to crawl near.

Step 3: Simulate An Earthquake

At first, it’s best to conduct the drill on a specific day at an exact time. This way, people will be ready to practice what they’ve learned. Simulate an earthquake by playing live recordings of earthquakes over a loudspeaker or intercom. Recordings can be downloaded from the broadcast resources page on the shakeout website.

Step 4: Ask For Feedback & Discuss Findings

Once the practice drill is complete, break up into groups or hold a company-wide assembly, and ask for feedback: What went well? What can be improved?

Step 5: Make it a Habit

To ensure true vigilance and mastery of these procedures, it is best that earthquake drills occur randomly. These random drills will test employee retention and skill.

Need Professional Earthquake Training? Give Us a Call!

If you would like professional earthquake training, then SoCal First Aid can help. We are expertly trained to implement company-wide earthquake safety processes. We teach employees how to keep both themselves and their co-workers safe during unexpected disasters.

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