Shakin’ Up Woodside

October 19, 2010

Are you ready for the “Big One” that geologists are uniformly predicting will someday strike California? Really ready? If not, the Great California Shakeout 2010 may be just the thing to get you thinking about earthquake safety. The Shakeout is this Thursday, October 21st.

California buildings are generally built to a very tough standard, but even with modern codes, the Northridge Quake of 1994 killed at least 33 people and injured more than 9,000 highlighting how we need to be on our guard and do all we can to reduce our risks.

The Shakeout is an annual statewide earthquake safety drill that started in 2008 as ‘The Great Southern California Shakeout’, and last year the whole state was involved, with 6.9 million citizens taking part. There are 7.6 million citizens already registered for 2010. Almost 100,000 participants from San Mateo County are already registered. You can still register at the Shakeout’s official site.

The event proper is a ‘Drop, Cover, Hold On’ drill set for 10:21 am on the 21st, but it’s also a way of thinking about how to prepare for and survive an earthquake. A ‘Secure Your Space’ initiative is being pushed this year to teach residents how to make sure their homes and businesses are as earthquake-safe as possible. Along with advice on how to retrofit your home, such as bolting the frame to the foundation and other long-term “fixes.“. The campaign has additional advice that COWs can follow today to make their space safer. Basically we all know that we should secure anything heavy enough to hurt if it falls on you and anything fragile enough to be a significant financial or emotional loss. The website has specific advice on how to secure a wide variety of potentially dangerous items in your home.

Closer to home, several local groups are registered as participating, including the Woodside Fire Protection District, the Town of Portola Valley, the La Honda Fire Brigade, and the San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services, as well as Cañada College but. Once again, not the Town of Woodside. We do not understand why our Town does not take a more active and proactive role in protecting our COWmunity by participating in these types of exercises.

CERPP (Citizens Emergency and Preparedness Program) is a local organization of citizens helping citizens in the face of disaster, with their mission being “to promote emergency preparedness and response capability at the citizen and neighborhood level in the event of a disaster that overwhelms traditional emergency response resources. “ That is pretty much a textbook description of what would happen in a major earthquake.

CERPP is holding a Community Earthquake Training on Saturday morning, the 23rd in conjunction with the Shakeout. The CERPP trainers will be on hand at Fire Station 7 in Woodside from 9 am to noon, to explain three important safety topics: First Aid, Rescue, and Emergency Communications. We urge all COWs to participate in the Shakeout and attend the Saturday training – in the event of a major disaster, we will have to rely on ourselves and our neighbors for support.

With that thought in mind, you may want to consider the CPR and First Aid courses also offered by WFD (see our story here). Upcoming CPR classes will be held October 23rd and November 20th, with 6 trainings already scheduled for 2011. Topics covered in the six-hour courses held at Station 19 include the skills needed to do adult and pediatric CPR, and how to keep yourself safe from communicable diseases and what the signals of a heart attack are. Even if you’ve had first aid and CPR courses in the past, particularly in light of the changing standards, this is a good time to take a refresher course. More information can be found here and here.

The Woodside Fire website also has lots of great advice about how to take care of your family and home and business in case of an earthquake, as well as information on training opportunities coming up to take emergency preparedness seminars. Classes offered by Woodside Fire include “Fire Extinguisher Training, Senior Fall/Injury Prevention, Girl/Boy Scout first aid and family & friends CPR (no certification), Proper use of 9-1-1, How to make a fire escape plan, Proper smoke alarm installation and maintenance, How to escape from a fire, (using our Fire Safety Trailer), Tools Not Toys (kindergarten), and Firefighters are our Friends (Pre-K).” Home Safety Checks are also offered by the District. For more information, check out or contact the Public Education Officer, Selena Brown, at 650-423-1406 or email her at

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