EIIP Virtual Forum Presentation November 4, 2009
The Great California ShakeOut
Second Annual Statewide Earthquake Drill
Mark L. Benthien
Director for Communication, Education, and Outreach
Southern California Earthquake Center
University of Southern California
Earthquake Country Alliance
The following has been prepared from a transcription of the recording. The complete slide set (Adobe PDF) may be downloaded from http://www.emforum.org/vforum/ShakeOut/overview.pdf for ease of printing.
[Welcome / Introduction]
Amy Sebring: Good morning/afternoon everyone. Welcome to EMforum.org. We are very glad you could join us today. I am Amy Sebring and will serve as your Moderator today.
Todays topic is the Great California ShakeOut, a statewide annual earthquake drill that took place last month. This event is sponsored by the Earthquake Country Alliance, now a statewide private public partnership consisting of the Redwood Coast Tsunami Workgroup, the Bay Area Earthquake Alliance, the Central Coast Earthquake Alliance, and the Southern California Earthquake Alliance.
We are going to try something a little different today and conduct our weekly poll right here!
It is safe to say that if you live in California, you cannot escape the reality of the earthquake hazard, but in other parts of the country, community hazards may not be as well understood. So this weeks poll asks:
Do you find local officials resist publicly acknowledging community hazards?
Results: Yes = 10 (47%) No = 11 (53%)
Now it is my pleasure to introduce todays guest:
Mark Benthien is the Director for Communication, Education, and Outreach for the Southern California Earthquake Center, headquartered at the University of Southern California where he communicates earthquake knowledge in order to increase awareness, reduce economic losses, and save lives. He promotes earthquake preparedness, mitigation, and planning for response and recovery.
As Executive Director of the Earthquake Country Alliance, Mark serves as the lead organizer of the ShakeOut event. Please see todays Background Page for further information and related links.
Welcome Mark, and thank you very much for being with us today. I now turn the floor over to you to start us off please.
Mark Benthien: Thank you, Amy. Good afternoon or good morning, everyone, and Im really happy to be here today to share with you all what weve been doing in California last year and this year with the Great California ShakeOut. It is the second year, though it is the first year as a state wide drill. In 2008, it was called the Great Southern California ShakeOut.
It came about because of a couple of things. There was a very extensive and comprehensive evaluation and study of what a large earthquake on the southernmost San Andreas would be, in terms of the damage and all the aspects and the geology, through the ground motion through the damage and the impacts on even the culture. This was a study led by Dr. Lucy Jones of the U.S. Geological Survey and over 300 experts. It was called the ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario.
Im going to refer to the ShakeOut.org website throughout my presentation and let you know where you can find things. You can find information about the scenario at ShakeOut.org/scenario.
That became the basis of Californias Golden Guardian exercise, an annual emergency management exercise with first responders and emergency managers that for 2008 was focused on earthquakes, and in this case a particular southernmost San Andreas earthquake (a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that would shake the entire area and some places for over two minutes, entire of Southern California).
The study came out showing that there would be over 213 billion dollars in losses, over 300,000 buildings significantly damaged, 50,000 people injured requiring hospitalization and at least 1,800 fatalities and probably many more, especially if those injured dont get the treatment they need. The big news is also the impact of fire, lack of water, a lot of issues that were addressed through the exercise last year.
In planning for that, the group of the Earthquake Country Alliance partners said, "Well, how do we involve everyone else?" Typically, these large exercises may involve thousands of people, but it doesnt involve the public, doesnt really involve businesses and all sorts of all organizations, sometimes might involve some schools, but not all the schools. So we said, "Lets create something that would allow everybody to practice what to do during an earthquake." Thats how the Great Southern California ShakeOut came about.
We ended up having a number of events during a week last November. The ShakeOut drill was on November 13. We had a registration system (that Ill tell you a bit more about later) such that we could assess how many people were planning to participate and what they were planning to do, and be able to communicate with them.
We had over 5.4 million participants. A lot of those are coming from schools, colleges, organizations of all sorts. These are some of the pictures from various events from last year on the screen here.
This was an event organized by the Earthquake Country Alliance, which was a Southern California group organized for the 10 year anniversary of the Northridge earthquake which was in January 2004. In order to coordinate for that, we got a group of people together to provide earthquake information and services and called ourselves the Earthquake Country Alliance.
With the success of the ShakeOut last year, we decided to expand that group statewide and partner with other groups in the state (the Redwood Coast Tsunami Workgroup to the north of the area, Earthquake Alliance) and also to organize a new group called the Central Coast Earthquake Alliance, just so were all able to work together on common products, activities, messaging especially, but also to coordinate the Great California ShakeOut.
The mission of the group is to foster a culture of earthquake and tsunami readiness in California. That means many things. It means people getting prepared, people having the conversations and awareness of earthquakes which may lead them to be prepared. Its not just household preparedness, its business preparedness and readiness to recover, its mitigation, its school preparedness, its all of the aspects that go into earthquake and tsunami readiness.
The website of earthquakecountry.org is being revised and updated to be a statewide website for a lot of this type of information.
For 2009, we werent planning originally to have this be an annual event, or have it become a statewide activity, but shortly after the 2008 ShakeOut, we began to get questions, emails and phone calls, asking us what was the date of the 2009 ShakeOut. We said, "We dont know, were not sure were going to do thisthis is a lot to organize, and we werent sure what type of support there would be."
Following conversations with several state agencies, including the California Emergency Management Agency, the California Seismic Safety Commission and many others, we decided to proceed. We talked with schools and other major partners about what the right date would be, and decided that the third Thursday in October would be the annual date, and it would be the same type of drill.
The focus of the drill, at minimum, for people is to do a drop-cover-hold on drill to practice what to do during an earthquake to protect yourselves. However, we encouraged people to do more than that. Many did. Many did evacuation drills following the drop-cover hold on drill. Many did more complete tests of their emergency plan.
Our goals were to involve as many as people as possible in the state, millions of people statewide. We really were focused throughout the state. We were looking at how to reach people in a state that is, in some ways, 3 or 4 statesthe size as well as the culture in different parts of the state. How were we going to reach out to people and involve them?
A lot of that came through the expanded participation of other groups in the Earthquake Country Alliance. There was also making sure that we were providing local information (Ill talk more about that in a little bit).
We knew who was planning to participate through asking them to register. That participation, we felt, would help towards our goal of shifting the culture in Californiagetting people to talk about it, making something so big that they couldnt ignore it. They would hear about it at the very least on the day through the news coverage, but hopefully in advance.
They would talk about, "Why do we need to do this?" Even if they were skeptical, that was a conversation about earthquakes they may not have had. Skeptical about whether it is worthwhile to do a drillthere are still a lot of discussions about that. We feel that it is very worthwhile. People learn a lot.
Some people think doing drop-cover-hold on as an exercise is kind of silly, or something, so we are hoping that this shows the value of doing that. From that shifting in culture were also hoping that leads to significant increase in earthquake readiness. Last year and this year, weve seen results along these lines.
Weve seen sales of preparedness products increase greatly at the time of the drill, and also through survey work were doing and stories that people are submitting to the websitereally learning about what theyre doing in addition to doing a drill and practicing what to do during an earthquake, they are also either improving their plans and replacing their supplies, and doing a lot of preparedness.
The key actions that were asking people to do really start with thinking about what might happen in a big earthquake and what they can do right now to reduce their damage.
That may be some simple action right nowmove something that might fall on them to a safer place, certainly practicing drop, cover, and hold on, then going to the next step of securing objects (top heavy furniture, water heaters, TV, electronics, computers, etcetera) so they wont fall, looking at the structures either in a home or business and seeing what might be done to make it a safer structure.
Also, storing more water is very important. We have on here one gallon per person per day for at least 3 days, and ideally for 2 weeks. Really, whatever you have, store more. In some places, people may be out of running water for weeks if not longer.
We also encourage people to have a first extinguisher and know how to use it. The scenario for a large earthquake shows that there may be hundreds of fires started, some of them starting as just a small fire that could be put out with a fire extinguisher, but if not, could spread and not just burn a house or a building, but a whole community because firefighters will be so busy after a big earthquake.
One question that we were looking at, too, and working with social scientists, is what actually leads people to get prepared? After years of research by social scientists such as Dennis Miletti, formerly of University of Colorado, Linda Bourque at UCLA and many others, this is a summary of key steps that we looked at and how do we implement these in the ShakeOut.
First is people seeing and hearing consistent, frequent, and multi-media, multi-source information about what to do. This is basic marketing, but we often dont apply as much as, for example, Coca-Cola does when they sell Coke. The key thing here is "consistent".
We have many, many, many efforts providing earthquake and hazard information in general. How do we work together so that information is uniform as much as possible, so that people arent seeing different information, getting confused, and choosing not to act at all, but also, working with many partners and many organizations so that theyre hearing it from many places.
Very important is that people get prepared when they see others like themselves getting prepared. Social scientists call it, "Monkey see, monkey do." What we tell people is, if youre interested in other people you know getting prepareddont just tell them toshow them what youve done. That will make the big difference.
Get people to talk about preparedness with people they know. Eventually, that will lead them to think its their own idea and they didnt hear it from a government agency or someone else telling them, but theyve really taken it on and internalized it. It is something that has become important to them.
Finally, focusing on the consequences or hazards of large earthquakes, but particularly also including information on how to avoid them. Its not just scaring people with large numbers and large losses, fatalities and everything that might happen, but also how that could be minimized.
[Slide 8, 9]
If you go to ShakeOut.org, youll see the home page, which has an interactive map on it, that shows how weve broken California into 11 regions. The reason was to provide local hazard information and to group counties of the state together to provide statistics on who is registering. When people come in and register to participate, we can list their names and organizations.
This is a list of the San Diego County schools that were participating, that had registered. We had a list of all types of organizations. We also provide numeric totals for each of these different areas, on who is participating from schools, from businesses, from government agencies, etcetera.
This is important to be able to provide the state hazard information about different faults, different potential earthquake sources that range from the Southern California earthquake scenario, the San Andreas that we talked about, but also the subduction zone hazard on the north coast of California. Its a very different issue.
This is a snapshot of the registration by area of these different areas here. Youll see that some areas have far more than others. If you look, a lot of these are Southern California areas that participated last year repeating again, which was something we werent sure how it would work, if they would do it again year after year. There were many participants in organizations and schools that have now taken us on as a yearly event.
We are also very happy to see that we exceeded one million participants in the Bay Area. That was an early goal that we set. It really came down to just before 10:15 A.M. on October 15 when we exceeded the million. But we had hundreds of thousands in many of the other areas. By population, these arent so different from each other on a per capita basis. The population of the areas of smaller numbers is much lower than, for example, Southern California west.
We were also able to look at registration by category. As you can see, K-12 schools and participants, both teachers and students and staff, have by far the largest numbers. Surprisingly, it was a challenge to get them to have their required earthquake drillthey do have a requirement to have such a drillbut to get them on the same day.
The key part of that, why that is important for an activity like this, is to build the visibility and awareness from all the other groups, too. To have people do an earthquake drill in their office, go home, their kids come home from school, ask them what they did that day. They say, "we had an earthquake drill", and theyre able to talk about what they did at work or at school, and have a conversation.
People having conversations, even within a family, is very important and one thing were trying to do with this. You can see varying levels of participation from all sorts of groupscolleges (also a large number of participants), businesses, government agencies (especially local government participants throughout the state). Many local governments and state agencies participated.
This wasnt coincidental with the Golden Guardian drill this yearthis was just the ShakeOut drop-cover-hold on drill plus what other activities people wanted to do. But many organizations and local governments and such did add in a more extensive activity.
This is just a chart showing registration by week. The red bar is showing the number of participants that were added over time. The yellow bars are showing the actual number of registrants of people who had come in and signed up their organizations or schools or individual selves. You can see as we approach the date, the numbers in both categories increase greatly.
This goes until October 14. We had many people still signing up, even in the days afterward that had participated.
This is showing the type of state government registrations, just the range of organizations. This wasnt a solely organized state activity, but rather the partners in organizing the Earthquake Country Alliance included state agencies as a private/public partnership, many types of organizations. Also it was important that we included many state agencies as we made this a statewide drill going forward. We had a broad range of organizations involved.
One thing that was important, too, is that it wasnt just the organizations in Earthquake Country Alliance or the state partners such as the California Emergency Management Agency working together to get the word out. We encouraged the participants themselves to take this on in helping to make this a very large earthquake drill in the state. They really responded to this. We would be really amazed to hear stories about what the individual organizations participating in the ShakeOut would be doing to both inform their employees, or their students, but also encourage others to participate.
Many organizations took on their own advertising or promotional activities. For example, the San Francisco municipal bus system had mention of the ShakeOut drill on i-Phone applications for people checking their bus schedules. It said in the middle of the screen that the big drill was coming, and to go to ShakeOut.org. That really wasnt something that was organized from any sort of top-down approachit was coming up from people in this type of grassroots effort.
This was really important to the success of the drill, which had for a drill of this type, an activity of this size, far less resources than you might suspect, and also just to get so many people involved. We encouraged the use of the resources that we put on the website on ShakeOut.org/resources, including posters and web images and all sorts of movies and audio files.
The next slide shows some of these they could use to print out on their own. We also, with the support of FEMA and the California Emergency Management Agency were able to get over one million flyers printed and distributed through all the partners describing the ShakeOut and preparedness.
In California, we have various booklets throughout the statesome called "Putting Roots Down in Earthquake Country", and in the northernmost, called "Living on Shaky Ground". We also have a business supplement to these booklets called "The 7 Steps to an Earthquake Resilient Business". These booklets can be ordered through earthquakecountry.org.
"The 7 Steps to an Earthquake Resilient Business" is not specific to California and can be used anywhere in the country.
Another resource we created to help people who maybe are not sure what to do during an earthquake, or who have received information that says they should do something else other than drop-cover-hold on, is dropcoverholdon.org. It is available in both English and Spanish.
On this, too, there is a game called "Beat the Quake". Its a game where you secure objects in a living room. You click on them and you choose the right way to secure them. At some point, an earthquake happens and you are able to see what you did correctly will stay in place, and what was not secured, or not secured correctly will fall on the ground.
Its a fairly fun game, and I encourage you to go to dropcoverholdon.org, or on ShakeOut.org on the main page, too, to "Beat the Quake". That also is in both English and Spanish.
We had many components to make the ShakeOut happen, many support participants. In addition to what I talked about already, we had ShakeOut Drill manuals. These were multi-level guides from the simple activity of a drop-cover-hold-on drill all the way up to a table top exercise (a more extensive drill). We had these for various groups and they are available for download on ShakeOut.org/resources page.
We had quite a bit of material for schools. We had the Earthquake Country Alliance Associates Group forming throughout the state with individual activists and advocates for earthquake preparedness working together to come up with ShakeOut. We had museums and libraries and parks come together as ShakeOut venues on ShakeOut day. We called these Earthquake Country Alliance EPIcenters. (The EPIcenter stands for "Education and Public Information Centers".)
Many of these were venues that the media could go to and we had events such as the California Science Center in Los Angeles and the Tech Museum in San Jose in the Bay Area. We had many presentations, we had movies, and we also had something called the drill broadcastaudio and video files people could download from the webpage or listen to on the radio at the time of the drill.
It gives them something to feel like theyre part of something bigger, but also to listen to while they are under their desk or their table. There were narrated instructions on what to do during an earthquake, and it also had sound effects of earthquakes at the same time. Those were very popular. The schools, organizations, would play over their public announcement systems, but also over the radio.
We did have radio, TV, and print advertising, public service announcements and a great deal of media coverage both the week before and the ShakeOut day itself. The idea was to give everybody the resources they need to participate in the drill, to get prepared, and also, to help share the ShakeOut and get others to participate.
Just a couple of pictures from the many that have been submitted to the website, and you can go to the website (ShakeOut.org) and there are links where people can submit their photos on those links. You can also see the photos that have been submitted. Soon well have the stories people are submitting also, telling about their ShakeOut experiences.
These are just a couple of photos that were providedvarious people during their drill, using the resources that were provided that they printed out on their own (a poster here).
There are many people doing drop-cover-hold-on, others groups taking this and having a more extensive drill. The picture on the top right here in the computer lab shows most people doing drop-cover-hold-on the correct way, but if you look at the middle-left, you see someone is just relaxing a bit too much. I think thats a pretty funny picture.
This is really maybe what its all about. All age ranges were participatingfrom pre-school all the way up to senior citzen retirement homes and communities. We are really trying to provide information they all need to know what to do during an earthquake. Also, people living with disabilities, or people of different cultural communities, and providing information in different languagesthis is all being added in as we go forward.
Next years ShakeOut, third Thursday, is on October 21 and it will be at 10:21 A.M. statewide in California. This year, we did have the drill in California, but there was also a drill on the South Island of New Zealand, a ShakeOut drill that we helped organize. There are many places around the world that are interested in what we are doing and having a ShakeOut drill of their own.
One possibility is on the 2011 ShakeOut, that the Central U.S. will have a ShakeOut drill. This is at the time of the 200 year anniversary of the New Madrid earthquakes (1811-1812), and the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium is looking at organizing a ShakeOut with us on that same day. They may on a same day together, they may do it on a different day. That is in the works.
That concludes my presentation. Here is my email address and my phone number if you have any questions and want to learn more in addition to the conversation we are about to have.
Amy Sebring: Thanks very much Mark for that excellent overview and what an accomplishment. Now, to proceed to our Q&A. If you participated in this event, we are also interested in hearing about your experience.
[Audience Questions & Answers]
Isabel McCurdy: Mark, what kind of information was required for registration?
Mark Benthien: It varied. We had three forms, basically. We had a very simple form for individuals. We had a more extensive form for schools and organizations of all types. You can go to ShakeOut.org/register and see those forms now.
We are still allowing people to register, and people still are, if they did participate but didnt register. We know there are quite a few of those. We were getting photos and stories from people who werent registered to participate.
You can see what was asked there. In general, we were asking for name and email address, and a few minor questions about what type of preparedness and planning theyve done. For schools, were asking a bit morewhat district they are in, what their grade levels are. It is pretty basic information, just to understand what they are planning. We ask them what their ShakeOut plans are for the daywhat they are planning to do on the ShakeOut day.
Amy Sebring: Did you take advantage of any of the newer social medial this year, like Twitter and so on?
Mark Benthien: We didboth Facebook and Twitter. We had a very active Facebook group of people who were engaged in discussions. It was really quite amazing. We had over 1,000 fans of our Facebook page at facebook.com/greatShakeOut. A lot of great discussions therepeople asking questions, people responding to questions we would ask. That is still growing. On October 15, we had just over 1,000 members; now were over 1,200.
We also used Twitter. For similar questions we would ask of people who were following us on Twitter, as well as announcements as we would go along when we would reach a milestone (for example, 3 or 4 million participants, or key dates, like a month to go, or 2 weeks to go) and we have over 600 followers on Twitter. Were really looking at how to use those.
We dont have a lot of individuals registering. Most people are participating through their organization or school. I think thats probably people being more willing to provide their work contact information than their personal information per se. Were looking at how to use the social networking sites to understand how individuals are participating. Were very interested in this and how to track individual participants.
Ray Pena: Are you aware of similar events with an evacuation component, i.e. with participants evacuating "en masse," and, if not, would you structure that kind of event like Shake Out?
Mark Benthien: There is an event that is a very large scale evacuation drill, and that is in Mexico City in September each year in commemoration of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake. They do evacuate people from many buildings. I think they had 5.5 million participants this year in that evacuation drill. Because of the buildings there, their recommendation for what to do during an earthquake is to evacuate. That is one model, and I think theres a lot of information about that drill. Thats one drill that I know about.
Amy Sebring: I know we have at least one CERT participant here from Los Angeles that has been a long time EMForum participant. Could you elaborate a little more? You did mention and had on a slide about one of the CERTs, (CERT is a Citizen Emergency Response Team).
Mark Benthien: There were many CERT participants, and CERT groups that participated, and like I said, we know that maybe not all, but many organized a drill of their response and set up a triage that they might do in an earthquake. Were still trying to gather together all the stories and were having a survey of what happened and what they did. We really are encouraging CERT groups to participate statewide and of course to help also spread the word about the ShakeOut to people in their communities.
Amy Sebring: Did the areas participating, such as in the north part of the state, did they customize the information for tsunami, or did you incorporate that? I guess Im interested in how much attention was given to the tsunami in this exercise.
Mark Benthien: A bit of boththey did customize information. On the north coast, they have a booklet called "Living on Shaking Ground" that was updated and printed this year that they took the "7 Steps to Earthquake Safety" that is in the "Putting Down Roots" booklet in Southern California and the Bay Area, and added in tsunami information that we really didnt have.
That is one customization they did. That is going to come back and feed into updates of the other booklets. Through the alliance, we are really trying to work together and help update information that were all producing and achieve more unified information.
We also relied on them and their expertise, Lori Dengler at Humboldt State University in particular, for updating flyers and other resources that we were putting out to the ShakeOut to include tsunami information.
Isabel McCurdy: Any new lessons learned from this ShakeOut?
Mark Benthien: Certainly. From 2008, we were really learning how to engage people in this. We were really kind of doing this from scratch. All that we learned in 2008 was certainly applied in 2009a lot in terms of information being provided and how to simplify that.
The big challenge between the years was making it statewide. It wasnt just a matter of doing some sort of global find and replace and deleting the word "southern", but because the 2008 drill was so focused on one earthquake, one earthquake scenario, one general region that we could pretty much have a uniform message.
When we go throughout the state and that earthquake doesnt affect all the areas of the state, and we have cultural differences, we needed to redo the whole site to take that into account. Thats why we created the 11 areas and provided information based on those areas, and did not have it focused on one particular scenario.
We also expanded greatly our use of social networking and how we were engaging people through Facebook and Twitter, etcetera.
Amy Sebring: Is there anything specific from this years event that youre carrying forward in your planning for next time?
Mark Benthien: Again, as of last year, we get really close to the date, people are really starting to pay even more information. They are looking for resources, information specific to their group. For example, we added "tribes" as a category very late in the year. We were adding many new categories of participants. People really started wanting to see themselves in the right category.
In terms of how people were taking this on is something that is important to them. Were also looking at how to get the word out to more people and how to encourage them to participate. One thing that were going to be doing as we go forward, now that it is established statewide, is adding a theme each yearan additional activity that were encouraging besides just drop-cover-hold-on, an additional preparedness activity.
So in this coming year, 2011, itll be non-structural contents mitigation, what we call "secure your space", will be the theme in addition to people practicing what to do during an earthquake. Were going to be seeking a lot of contents mitigation happening in California this next year.
Dan Linehan: What forms of follow-up procedures were anticipated and what were actually experienced? Were you able to meet the needs for follow-up questions, information etc.?
Mark Benthien: We are still responding to peoples questions that are still coming ina lot of interaction, in the weeks before, hundreds and hundreds of emails to deal with on a daily and weekly basis, people asking really good questions and interacting that way. We are finalizing a very comprehensive survey of the participants, broken down into different groups, to get their feedback.
Now that we know the ShakeOut is an annual event, we are able to keep things going, whereas last year, with not being sure it was going to continue, it took awhile to get geared up again. We are still in full swing and getting ready for 2010.
Alex Rose: Of course we all want more people to participate next year. Further, is there a desire for greater participation than simply Drop, Cover, Hold or practicing evacuation at a workplace? For example, is there a way to measure how many people confirmed they have 3 days food/water at home, car, and work?
Mark Benthien: That is one thing were doing through the survey. Its not just what people did, but also about their preparedness before their participation in the ShakeOut, their preparedness after, including specifics on what they have stored in terms of supplies, as well as the mitigation activities that theyve done or their plans or communication plans. We are looking at how to assess the impact of the ShakeOut on preparedness in terms of what we are encouraging people to do, in particular.
Nicole: How do you reach out to vulnerable populations - people that may be illiterate, very old, physically or mentally disabled, poor, isolated, etc.?
Mark Benthien: That is something of major interest to us. We are working with people who represent those groups through the Earthquake Country Alliance Associates group, involving them in the activity, and making sure they have the information they need to provide to their communities.
We have a number of organizations that serve people with disabilities of various types. The Web site is completely translated into Spanish. We have materials in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean, though the other languages are nowhere near as completely translated as Spanish is. Were going to be adding more along those lines.
Tailoring information is something that we are really committed to keep doing for years to comemaking sure that people can get information, not just in written form on the website, but in presentations and other forms, and really relying on the participants themselves in spreading the word, and also our alliance partners to reach those that may be illiterate or have other issues where they cant interact with the website.
Pearline Howald: Perhaps I missed it but did you incorporate critical incident stress management into the drill and if so was it useful?
Mark Benthien: We didnt. Some people may have in their individual drills. The ShakeOut is something like thousands of individual drop-cover-hold-on drills happening at once, and it is not coordinated the way that an emergency management exercise might be, where everyone has to report in and follow certain guidelines and structures and really testing the overall system.
This is a way of engaging all sorts of people and not overwhelming them, as sometimes happens in those larger exercises. Were finding out and seeking stories and survey responses for what people included in their drill. That type of activity would be something that would be up to the organization, the hospital, the government agency that participated.
Linda Underwood: In 2008, we scheduled our CERT refresher to take place during the ShakeOut week. Unfortunately, we had to cancel it because of wildfires in the area and too much smoke in the air.
Mark Benthien: The unfortunate thing with 2008 was that we had the drill and the Golden Guardian exercise was set to be a 5 day event for some, but unfortunately, the night of the drill some very large wildfires started and everything kind of got shut down.
Dan Linehan: Do you have a continued outreach program to contact participants via their email, twitter, or other communication methods on a regular basis?
Mark Benthien: Yes, now that we are statewide and annual, we have the participants email list. The plan is to engage them monthly with information leading up to a more proactive or active recruitment period. Probably that wont start until May or so.
We now have a community of sorts, of people who are the people at organizations or schools, by the fact that they were the ones that registered the organization, likely are the people who are very interested in all of this and preparedness. Thats a great list to have, because that can often be the challengeidentifying who is the person at an organization to interact with. Were going to be engaging them over the year.
Isabel McCurdy: Did your Governor do it?
Mark Benthien: Thats a great question, and the answer is no. Thats a political question of sorts, and something were looking to, in the future is how to engage more and more political officials.
At the events that we organized at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, we had the State Superintendent of Education with us. I was next to him under a table at 10:15 on 10/15. Elected officials locally and state senator assembly members did participate.
Linda Underwood: In 2009, we held our CERT refresher much earlier. This year, CERT members participated in the new ACS/CERT Communications Plan for the city of LA. The plan uses FRS radios and amateur radios to send emergency traffic from simultaneous multiple incidents in multiple battalions back through the LAFD chain of command to the proper recipients.
Bob Davisson: Were there any ground-breaking communications interoperability aspects involved with this exercise?
Mark Benthien: Lets reverse that and have Lindas comment answer; thats one answer. But in general, the ShakeOut is not yet, at least, a test of communications, except for where organizations add that into their own activities.
Lori A Wieber: Could you give us some idea on the involvement by privately owned critical infrastructure or business aspect if you want to generalize it to that?
Mark Benthien: That could mean many things, but the utilities, both private and public, were involved last year and this year in testing their response and how their systems would be impacted. Of course businesses, too.
Many people said that they had never done a drill before. How did they do a drill, using their resources? Both beforehand, and in the stories submitted about just really what they learned in doing the drill. Stories of people who said we have plans for going to this location afterwards and discovered this wasnt going to work. People who said they were planning to get under their desks, but when they did the drill, they figured out they couldnt fit, on and onstories like that.
A lot of small to very large businesses that may not do a drill of any sortmaybe a fire drillbut not really thinking about what to do during an earthquake.
Amy Sebring: How important do you think media coverage was to this success?
Mark Benthien: For the participants themselves that were registered and planning to participate and knew about everything, the media coverage is just affirming that they were a part of something big.
For those who were not registered, who werent planning, maybe just heard about it through the media the day before (again, we had many people register just in the last day, really), and then also for people who didnt participate, but who saw people practicing what to do during an earthquake, saw people experiencing the ShakeOut drill, saw the coverage, we felt that that multiplied the impact of the ShakeOut. People were seeing the right things to do.
Amy Sebring: Time to wrap for today. Thanks very much Mark for an excellent job, and taking the time to share this information with us. We wish you continued success in your future efforts.
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Thanks to everyone for participating today and for all the excellent questions. Until next time, we stand adjourned. Have a great day everyone!