The Great ShakeOut, a day to practice what to do in an earthquake


FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — The Great ShakeOut is a coordinated time to practice earthquake drills and occurs the third Thursday of October every year.

At least 6.6 million Californians are participating this year including 370,000 in the Central Valley.

Through work, school or at home many are learning the basics like “Drop, Cover and Hold on.”

But radio operator Christopher Johnson says the Great Shakeout is a time to practice ways to communicate in an emergency. 

Johnson owns AEGIS Groundwater Consulting and is a geologist and former Fresno State football player. 

Johnson is also part of the Fresno County Amateur Radio Emergency Service or ARES — a group that volunteers communications services in emergencies like earthquakes.

“I can take a small radio like this and I can actually set my truck up to act as a repeater. Park the truck at the top of the hill. I talk to the truck and the truck through its repeater talks to a much larger group of people,” Johnson said.

Agencies will ask for their help in disasters such as the earthquake in Ridgecrest because cell phone and landline service get knocked out.

“As our motto says, when all else fails the amateur radio emergency service stands ready to answer the call,” Johnson said.

The Great ShakeOut has free earthquake drill and educational materials at including what to do when an earthquake strikes while driving or in bed.

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