City of Hope staff will participate in the largest earthquake drill in history on Nov. 13. The emergency exercise is part of The Great Southern California ShakeOut, a week-long series of public events to promote earthquake preparedness.
The drill will simulate a 7.8-magnitude earthquake along the San Andreas Fault that will kill 1,800 people, injure 50,000 and cause $200 billion in damage. Virginia Opipare, executive vice president and chief operating officer, said the campus drill will span multiple shifts to ensure as many employees as possible can participate.
“Our goal is to secure a high level of participation so that we can simulate, as close as possible, how we will work together in the event of a major earthquake,” Opipare said. “The drill gives us an opportunity to test and refine our processes and make improvements to our organizational emergency plan.”
The earthquake drill will last from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Scenarios will include injured patients, hazardous materials spills, utilities failures and damage to City of Hope buildings.
Across the state, the drill is expected to involve 20 million participants, including staff in hospitals, schools and businesses. Chuck Pickering, director of safety and occupational health, said employees should use the drill as an opportunity to test personal readiness.
“While we are at risk for a major earthquake, many Californians have not implemented family disaster plans at home,” he said. “Each of us can significantly reduce our risk by planning and practicing with our families what to do if an earthquake or other disaster strikes.”
Pickering suggests employees can begin preparing themselves by storing extra water and making or updating a family disaster plan.
“A major earthquake is inevitable and would significantly stretch resources, meaning people will have to rely on themselves immediately following a quake,” he said.
Opipare believes City of Hope’s ongoing disaster preparedness efforts will help the organization effectively meet the operational challenges in the event of a large-scale earthquake.
“City of Hope is committed to the safety of our patients and employees before, during and after actual emergency situations,” she said. “This drill, and our ongoing emergency preparations, help ensure that we fulfill our commitment.”
Volunteers are needed to play a variety of roles during the drill. Employees may contact Pickering at email@example.com for more information.
The Nov. 13 drill is jointly coordinated by the United States Geological Survey, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the California Office of Homeland Security. For more information visit www.shakeout.org.