Occidental to Participate in Great ShakeOut

Approximately 1,000 members of the Occidental College community will be among the millions of local residents participating in the Nov. 13 Great Southern California ShakeOut, believed to be the largest emergency preparedness drill in U.S. history.

The ShakeOut drill scenario, developed by a group of experts led by Dr. Lucy Jones of the U.S. Geological Survey, assumes a 7.8 quake on the southern end of the San Andreas Fault with an epicenter near the Salton Sea. A quake this size would generate severe shaking, up to 50 times greater than was experienced in the 1994 Northridge quake.

Occidental will participate in the ShakeOut’s "Drop, Cover and Hold On" drill scheduled for 10:05 a.m. on Nov. 13. Extended drills with building evacuations will be conducted in the Library and Coons Administrative Center, and staff also will evacuate from the Johnson Student Center.

A first test of the new OxyAlert emergency notification system also is scheduled to be held in conjunction with the ShakeOut. The College’s newly installed siren system will sound, and students, faculty and staff will receive test e-mails and voicemail. (Text messaging will be added in the future.)

"Of course, it’s our hope that we never need to use the siren and the OxyAlert system," Says Holly Nieto, director of campus safety. "However, it is our obligation to be prepared should a major emergency occur."