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World’s largest earthquake drill on 30th anniversary of Loma Prieta quake

Great California ShakeOut prompts millions to practice what to do when the ground shakes

(SACRAMENTO) Millions of Californians will practice how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” when the ground shakes during the Great California ShakeOut on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 10:17 a.m. This year’s drill will coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake that shook Northern California on Oct. 17, 1989.

Also known as the “World Series earthquake,” the magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake was felt extensively in Santa Cruz, Monterey and the San Francisco Bay Area. It was responsible for 63 deaths, 3,757 injuries, and more than $5.9 billion in property damage. Strong ground shaking, liquefaction, and landslides caused significant structural damage, and approximately 16,000 housing units—almost 13,000 in the nine-county San Francisco Bay region alone—were uninhabitable after the earthquake.

“The Loma Prieta earthquake was a tragedy that caused immense suffering for thousands of California residents," said California Earthquake Authority CEO Glenn Pomeroy. “Anniversaries for big earthquakes often serve as painful reminders of why we need to know how to Drop, Cover, and Hold On when the ground shakes, and know how to financially recover from damage that may be expensive to repair.”

Most Californians live within 30 miles of an active fault. In 2015, scientists reported there was a greater than 99 percent chance of one or more magnitude 6.7 earthquakes striking California between 2014 and 2043. Magnitude 6.4 and 7.1 earthquakes struck near the Mojave Desert town of Ridgecrest in July 2019, and a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck near Napa in 2014.

Now more Californians are paying closer attention to their risk for earthquakes, and their potential costs to repair shake damage not covered under a standard homeowner policy. CEA now offers a wide range of coverage options, and has more than one million policyholders.

“More than 10 million Californians participated in the Great California ShakeOut last year,” Pomeroy said. “The drill is easy to do. It’s also easy to have a quick conversation with your insurance agent about how to get an earthquake policy. A little preparation can make a big difference if California’s next big earthquake strikes closer to home.”

More information from CEA and other organizations about how to survive and recover from damaging earthquakes that scientists say are possible in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and San Diego areas can be found at EQHeadquarters.com.

And more information about the Great California ShakeOut and other ways to prepare for earthquakes can be found at EarthquakeAuthority.com/ShakeOut.

A video message from CEA CEO Glenn Pomeroy to commemorate the devastating 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake is available here.

About CEA

The California Earthquake Authority (CEA) is a not-for-profit, privately funded, publicly managed organization that provides residential earthquake insurance and encourages Californians to reduce their risk of earthquake loss. Learn more at Earthquake​Authority.com​​.

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