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American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter Participates in the Great California ShakeOut
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By Brian Kroener, American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter
November 5, 2010
At 10:21am on October 21, the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter participated in the 3rd annual Great California ShakeOut, a California-wide earthquake drill and preparedness initiative.  The Great Shakeout emphasizes earthquake drill planning and implementation as well as evaluation of home and workplace safety. The Great ShakeOut is an event our chapter enthusiastically supports and partners with to help fulfill our vision of making the Bay Area the most earthquake resilient region of the country.  The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter was one of a record 7.9 million registered organizations, schools, businesses, universities and individuals who participated in the “Drop, Cover, Hold On!” drill this year.   The Great ShakeOut has grown from a regional initiative in southern Californian to a state-wide and even international earthquake preparedness effort in recent years, and the Bay Area chapter helped to lead the charge with this year’s drill through its own drill participation and promotion efforts.
Many Red Cross Bay Area community partners across the San Francisco Bay Area participated in the Great ShakeOut alongside Red Cross staff and volunteers.  At the request of the San Francisco office of the general consulate of Mexico, latino community preparedness specialist Emily Saeger attended the consulate’s “Drop, Cover, Hold On!” drill, helping to explain the proper response to an earthquake.  The drill proved to be eye-opening for the consulate’s staff, who remarked on ways in which their organization could do more to be prepared for disaster.  The Great Shakeout was also an excellent opportunity for the Latino community preparedness program to continue their outreach among the leadership of the Mexican immigrant population through material distribution and descriptions of Red Cross services.
In Chinatown, Asian community preparedness specialist Debbie Yee participated in a table-top earthquake response simulation with the NICOS Chinese health coalition and San Francisco Communities Responding to Disasters (SF CARD).  Along with the allied health organizations of NICOS and SF CARD, Yee joined this simulation to define the roles of leaders in the Chinatown community during an activation of the nationally accepted and standardized incident command system for disaster response and recovery.  Also inspired by the Great Shakeout, the Cornerstone Community Church of God in Christ in Marin City utilized the Red Cross preparedness training that the staff and church members received to deploy and test their disaster shelter equipment.  Church members successfully called in their participation to the Red Cross regional office in San Rafael, emphasizing their connection to the wider network of Red Cross disaster shelters in the Bay Area.
Every Red Cross Bay Area office also activated their plans to “Drop, Cover, Hold On!” and evacuate their site during the Great ShakeOut.  The approximately 50 staff and volunteers of the San Francisco chapter headquarters office used a scalable and interactive earthquake drill prepared by the chapter’s preparedness team, which was made available via www. redcrossbayarea.org for offices, schools and societal organizations to use in their own Great ShakeOut drills.  In future years, the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter plans to build on this year’s successes with the Great ShakeOut by supporting wider and more in-depth participation across our partner and collaborator networks.  As always, the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter seeks to be a resource for disaster and emergency resilience for the entire Bay Area community through our participation in the Great ShakeOut, our Health & Safety and Preparedness trainings, the Ready Rating™ Business Continuity Program, and the Be Red Cross Ready online training available at prepare.org, to name a few.

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