SANTA MARIA, Calif. – The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) will held a hands-on training workshop in Santa Maria this afternoon to help residents prepare for an earthquake.
The two-hour workshop took place in Shepard Hall at the Santa Maria Public Library.
"Today we are holding a secure your space workshop for the community, in an effort to not only to bring awareness for earthquake preparedness and ensuring that your space is ready for that, but also to encourage our community to participate in the upcoming (Great California) Shakeout," said Santa Barbara County Emergency Manager Stacy Silva. "Earthquake preparedness is very important because here in California we never know when an earthquake might occur."
Community members in attendance received an overview of basic concepts and skills for how to mitigate damage or injuries by securing their space in their home or workplace.
"During an earthquake, anything that isn't tied down, it's like a baseball, only the earth is a bat and everything on top of it is the ball, so there's a tremendous amount of energy that's transferred into your room," said Santa Maria Emergency Services Specialist Roy Duggar. "Things in your room and they'll go flying across the room at over 60 miles an hour, so having it tied down is really important."
The "Secure Your Space" training event was held by the OEM, along with Earthquake Country Alliance (ECA), which describes itself as a public-private-grassroots partnership of people and organizations that work together to improve earthquake and tsunami preparedness, mitigation and resiliency.
"With the Earthquake Country Alliance, we are partnering to provide the community with awareness and education on how to secure those large items, as well as providing them the safety straps to go home and actually put things in practice," said Silva. "During large earthquakes, or even small ones, as the ground moves, items that are bigger than us, can begin to topple over, and when you have things like refrigerators or televisions that are coming down off the wall, that can result in injury to the people who are within that space, so taking the time to secure those items, so they're not going to teeter and they're not going to fall, is one step that you can take to ensure that your home is prepared."
Those who take part were able to take home a "starter kit" of fastening items valued at $65, including a tall furniture strap kit, a TV (or electronics) strap kit, and two “SeismoLatch” cabinet latches.
Another way people are being advised to further their earthquake preparedness is to take part in the upcoming Great ShakeOut.
"The Great ShakeOut is on Oct. 19 at 10:19 a.m.," said Silva. "We encourage all community members to get involved by holding an earthquake drill in your business, within your home, and talking through what would occur in the event of an earthquake."
Thousands of schools, businesses, churches, clubs and other locations annually take part in the statewide drill.
For more information about the Great ShakeOut, click here.