Earthquake Preparedness Planning?

Interesting post over at Total Buzz by Register writer Jennifer Muir.

Guess what emergency managers from across the county were doing yesterday when the ground started shaking? Discussing how to promote countywide earthquake drills.

“We were at the point when we were talking about ways to get the public involved, and then the earthquake hit,” said Brooke De Baca, spokeswoman for county CEO Tom Mauk. “And we all ducked. All of us. … We’re very responsible. We all got under the table and waited for the swaying to stop.”

The group of about 10 – county and city emergency managers and some earthquake experts – was on the second floor of the American Red Cross building in Santa Ana to discuss “Operation Shake Out,” a public awareness campaign to encourage businesses to practice how they’d react in an earthquake.

The shaking, um, shook up their planning.

“Everyone was instantly on the phone,” and quickly left the meeting to deal with the aftermath of the REAL earthquake, De Baca, said. “It was really ironic. Part of me thought, ‘Is this a drill?'”

Funny, we had ten county managers planning a PR campaign for earthquake safety, yet there are no procedures in place, at least in the building I work in, on what to do in the event of an earthquake. 

The Designated Safety Representatives in my office decided to have everyone evacuate. But on the third floor where I was, nobody knew what to do. We all went out to the cafeteria patio and hung out for a while. There was no fire alarm; no order to evacuate; nothing at all.

My point is simple, and I know our nanny-state hating friends over at Orange Punch as well as the coiner of the phrase “nanny-state” Chuck DeVore will agree with me. Government has no business telling people what to do in the event of an earthquake…

Especially if they have no clue what to do in their own house.