Safety Drills Held on Eve of Loma Prieta Anniversary

With the 25th anniversary of the destructive Loma Prieta earthquake approaching Friday, local, state and federal agencies are reminding Bay Area residents at numerous local events how to stay prepared.

Nature gave the region its own reminder early on Aug. 24 when a 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck near American Canyon, damaging hundreds of buildings and injuring 209 people.

It was the largest quake in the area since the one that struck shortly after 5 p.m. on Oct. 17, 1989. The 6.9-magnitude earthquake killed 63 people, injured thousands more and necessitated extensive rebuilding, including Interstate Highway 880 in Oakland and the eastern span of the Bay Bridge.

The greatest risk of injury during a quake is from falling objects. For that reason, the most common advice during an earthquake is to “drop, cover and hold on.”

The expression refers to getting underneath a sturdy piece of furniture like a table to protect from falling objects and to hold onto it in case it moves across the floor in the course of the shaking.

To practice “drop, cover and hold on,” as many as 10 million Californians participated in the “Great California Shakeout” today on the eve of the Loma Prieta anniversary.

Drills were held statewide at 10:16 a.m. today all over the Bay Area.

To further mitigate the risk from falling objects, the California Department of Insurance recommends taking small steps to secure objects affixed to walls or in cabinets.

An earthquake strap affixed to a flat screen TV can help prevent the device from falling during an earthquake and can serve as a theft deterrent as well.

The department also recommends adding a child safety latch to glassware cabinets that can help avoid glass falling on floors and breaking, creating a risk of injury from walking on broken glass.

Earthquake putty added to the bottom of decorative items on shelves can prevent them from falling.

The insurance department also issued a reminder to residents today that standard homeowner’s insurance in California does not typically cover earthquakes, but a separate policy can be purchased to cover damage from temblors.

Scott Morris, Bay City News

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