Why the great ShakeOut is important, especially in the Coachella Valley


Photo courtesy of The Chaparral. CVDPN President Carla Sullivan-Dilley and Alan Hurt, COD geology professor at the Great ShakeOut booth at COD’s Palm Desert campus.

Earthquakes are not a commonality for some places in the U.S., but due to how close the Coachella Valley is to the San Andreas fault line, it’s a natural disaster that we should be prepared for.

You may ask yourself, how do you prepare for something so unpredictable?

That’s the goal of the Coachella Valley Disaster Preparedness Network, which teamed up with COD on Oct. 20 to help teach students how to make a personal and family disaster plan and which supplies you have within your home, car, and place of work. Many preparedness plans cost little to no money but will help you successfully survive all types of disasters.

“If you are not aware of the many hazards that exist, how can you prepare for yourself and loved ones that depend on you?” said Carla Sullivan-Dilley, President of the CVDPN, “CVDPN educates the importance of being proactive, not reactive planning.”

The practice of the ShakeOut took place at 10:20 a.m., the morning of the collaborative event. After the procedure, many students interacted with CVDPN’s booth, where free lifesaving disaster information for their family members including their pets, was provided. Professor Alan Hurt of COD’s Geology Department stressed that the “big one” could happen at any moment, so all this information will go a long way to help if it ever hits.

“Why do we have to be prepared?” Hurt leads, “We haven’t seen shaking in a long time in this valley. We’re trying to inform the community and our students here at COD that the San Andreas fault is locked and loaded. The southern section hasn’t moved in 150-200 years, and we know it works on a cycle basis, with the last big one being in 1857. We’re way overdue; it’s not if — it’s when. We hope the big one never happens, but it’s like car insurance; you need it if you get in an accident.”

Superintendent/President of College of the Desert, Dr. Martha Garcia, Ed.D., echoes ShakeOut’s importance.

“Being well prepared and proactive is so important,” said Garcia, “You hope that the community and this school’s students never have to endure a situation where we have to carry out the drill, but if there is a time like that, this institution cares and is committed to its students, employees, and anyone on-site.”

CVDPN partners with Earthquake Country Alliance, ECA, the originators of the Great California ShakeOut, which now reaches millions of people worldwide. CVDPN and ECA have a win-win community partnership. CVDPN relies on the experts, such as ECA, for the educational information distributed throughout the Coachella Valley. They have provided materials for distribution, held joint webinars, and featured CVDPN within ECA SoCal statewide workshops and “Community Engagement Webinars.” For more information visit earthquakecountry.org.