The Great California Shake Out is October 18th, just three days from now. Kids in schools from around the state will be practicing their earthquake safety skills, as will be office workers, government employees, as well fire and life safety personnel. While this long list of do-gooders and goody-two-shoes are dropping, covering and holding on, why would a hip-flask, i-pad toting person such as yourself be interested?
Because it could save your life.
Let’s make this clear – Dropping, Covering, and Holding On needs to be a reflex. When you feel the ground shake, or hear the rumble, before anything has time to fall, you should instantaneously, reflexively, drop to the ground, cover your head, and hold on to your covering to keep it from shaking away from you.
You should be instinctively DCHO-ing so that when a truck rattles your office windows, you’re under your desk, without even checking to see if your co-workers have followed you.
Here’s a DCHO quiz. Can you show us what an expert you are, and then share your expertise on October 18th, wherever you are at 10:18am? Obviously the answer’s going to be DCHO. But do you know how to DCHO everywhere?
A. As you head into your favorite coffee shop, the ground shakes. Do you Drop, Cover and Hold On to…
1) the leg of the person in line in front of you
2) the side of the checkout counter
3) the nearest table
B. It’s Saturday, and you’re jumping in the shower before you go out to play. As the ground shakes do you…
1) brace yourself in the doorway as you drop your towel
2) jump from the shower and run for the hallway
3) flick off the water, and crouch down in the shower, hands over your head
C. On your walk to work downtown, as things start to sway do you…
1) find a wall or doorway to snuggle up to as you DCHO
2) avoid electric and telephone lines and poles
3) stay out of the street and away from the curb
How did you do on our little quiz?
The answers are:
A – 3. Even if you’re in the longest line ever for the Chemex double brew, and you just don’t want to lose your place after waiting 30 minutes to get the front of the line in order to wait 15 minutes while your coffee brews, get out of line and get under a table. Don’t cuddle up to the counter where the Chemex is sitting ready to spew boiling water, coffee grounds and broken glass over your head. And if there really are no tables and chairs to duck under, get down on the ground, away from things that might fall on you like coffee pots, tuck yourself up tight like a little bean and wrap your arms around your most precious possession,
your i-pad, I mean, your head.
B – 3. “But Mom always said to stand in a doorway during an earthquake.” Your mom was wrong. Standing in a doorway won’t keep the door from slamming you in the face as it rattles around, and it won’t protect your head from stuff flying across the room. Don’t run naked and slippery out of the bathroom either, that’s a great way to break a leg before you get hit in the head with that blow dryer you keep on top of the towel closet (better move that to a lower shelf today, preferably one with a door).
C- 1, 2 and 3. Trick question! Haha! Were you fooled? You were fooled right? You thought it was only one of them, right? Being outdoors in a city is a tricky situation, no doubt. There are a lot of things overhead that can come tumbling down, but you need to pick your poisons by what’s most dangerous and closest. If you have power lines over head, move away from them, preferably under an eave, in a doorway, or at least against a wall so the lines won’t come down on top of you. And if they do come down around you, don’t move. Don’t try to climb over them, or pull them out of the way. DO NOT TOUCH THEM. THEY WILL FRY YOU WITH ELECTRICITY.
Try to stay away from plate glass windows if that’s your most dangerous item nearby, and remember that even parked cars can move in earthquakes, so don’t snuggle up to a parked car, and definitely don’t go towards any moving cars. Don’t forget when you get into position, DROP, COVER and HOLD ON until the shake stops.
Here’s our favorite DCHO earworm to help you stay safe. Listen and get it stuck in your head for safety’s sake.