10/13- Earthquake Preparedness and The Great Shakeout

To: USC Staff

From David Wright, senior vice president, administration

Date: October 13, 2022

USC will participate in the 15th Annual Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill at 10:20 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20.

USC has participated in the Great ShakeOut since it began in 2008. The university takes emergency planning and preparedness very seriously. We urge you and your colleagues to join the more than 60 million people worldwide who will be practicing “DropCover andHold On” in response to a hypothetical 7.8 earthquake.  
Detailed instructions are available below.

During an earthquake, the safest action is to drop to the floor, crawl under a desk or table and hold on until the shaking stops. Most important: do not panic, and do not run! Please take a few minutes to watch the USC Emergency Procedures Video.

At home, consider taking additional steps to prepare your family by developing a family disaster plan.

Please also review earthquake preparedness and response for individuals with disabilities as well as earthquake preparedness and procedures for laboratories.

For more information about the drill, please visit USC’s ShakeOut website or contact the Office of Fire Safety & Emergency Planning.

Major Earthquake Jolts Southern California 

All departments are asked to facilitate this drill within their own offices, labs and public spaces. Here’s how:

  • At 10:20 a.m., when the first jolt hits, everyone should drop, cover and hold on.
  • In a big earthquake, falling objects such as bookcases, light fixtures and other heavy items are the biggest hazards.  You should go under a desk or table and hold on until the shaking stops.
  • In our hypothetical earthquake, the shaking lasts for a full 30 seconds.  Do not panic, run or go under a doorway.  If you are in a hallway, move away from windows and drop down near an interior wall, protecting the back of your head and neck.
  • Be sure to “drop and cover” the moment you feel the initial jolt  If you wait until the earthquake gets stronger, it may be too late.

Valuable information on what to do AFTER an earthquake:

  1. Check for injuries in your area. Do not attempt to move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate danger. Call for medical assistance (UPC: (213) 740-4321; HSC: (323) 442-1000) and, if required, render first aid. If needed, request aid from building emergency response teams.
  2. Check your area for safety hazards such as building damage, fires or gas leaks. If your area or the building appears unsafe, leave the building using stairs, not elevators. If there are no evident safety hazards, there is no need to evacuate.
  3. For emergency information, go to emergency.usc.edu
  4. After a major earthquake, the university will implement emergency services to ensure the well-being of students, faculty and staff.
  5. The President of the university will announce if classes are suspended.
  6. Departments will implement their emergency plans. This means departments should have a plan in place that: 1) allows for assisting the campus community following an earthquake; and 2) resumes normal operations (including academic instruction) as safely and quickly as possible.
  7. If evacuation is necessary, report to your building’s designated emergency assembly area.

Preparedness Checklist:

  • Familiarize yourself with emergency exits, emergency assembly areas and the location of emergency supplies in your building. Maintain a personal emergency kit in your office and home with a flashlight, batteries, AM/FM radio, small first aid kit and personal items.
  • Bolt tall bookcases and other large items to a wall to prevent toppling in an earthquake. Please contact FPM for assistance (UPC: (213) 740-6833; HSC: (323) 442-8005).
  • Thoroughly familiarize yourself with your department’s emergency plan. Talk to your supervisor to learn your group’s role in an on- campus emergency.
  • Ensure all important data in your workplace and home are electronically backed up and all vital paper records are protected.
  • Login to Workday at employees.usc.edu to ensure your contact information is current and include your cell phone number to receive TrojansAlert text messages.
  • Sign up now for payroll direct deposit to ensure your paycheck is received in a timely manner.
  • Take steps to protect your family and home from harm in an earthquake. This may include developing a family disaster plan, obtaining a home emergency kit, and mitigating hazards in your home environment. Information is available at shakeout.org and earthquakecountry.org.
  • Download LiveSafe, USC’s Mobile Safety App, from Google Play or the Apple App Store. Please visit dps.usc.edu/services/safety-app/ for more information.