City to help make history with quake drill

What better way to remember a massive and destructive earthquake than to pretend we are experiencing an even bigger one.

More than 7 million state residents, including San Franciscans, are already signed up for what should be the largest earthquake preparedness event ever in the U.S., said California Emergency Management Agency Secretary Matt Bettenhausen, who talked up the drill at City Hall this morning.

Folks in schools, at work, at home and everywhere where else will be encouraged to “drop, duck and hold on” in unison.

Bettenhausen touted the “ShakeOut Drill” just as Mayor Gavin Newsom unveiled at City Hall a series of events to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

The massive drill will take place Oct. 15, two days before the quake’s anniversary, and will from then on will be held annually on the third Thursday of October, according to organizers.

Last year, nearly 5.5 million Southern Californians took part in the drill, which stands today as the nation’s largest quake preparedness activity in history, Bettenhausen said. This year, San Franciscans are included.

The City’s commemoration of the Loma Prieta disaster, which killed 63 people and destroyed thousands of structures, is formerly called “The Big Rumble.” It includes a number of events between now and Oct. 17 aimed at raising awareness about quakes and to show off all San Francisco has done during the last two decades to prepare.

More information is at www.thebigrumble.org.

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