Did You Feel It? The 7.5 Big One?

The Great American ShakeOut Earthquake Drill occurred last Thursday, October 18 at 10:18 AM at Sun City Shadow Hills where we simulated a 7.5 Earthquake and asked all residents, including staff members present to DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON!!!  This is what we would recommend if the BIG ONE were to hit here at SCSH.

On behalf of the Emergency Preparedness Sub-Committee, we would like to thank all residents who participated, along with our many EPSC Volunteers!  Participating in this drill every year is a great reminder of where we live in proximity to the San Andreas Fault and to remind residents that the HOA is recommending every household be able to sustain themselves for a minimum of two weeks after a major disaster.

Reporting in from the Santa Rosa Clubhouse was EPSC Volunteer, Robert Jester and he had nothing but positive feedback from the residents who actively participated, as well as the residents who chose to watch.  EPSC Volunteer Emilie Jester reported in from the Santa Rosa classrooms and a great big THANK YOU goes out to the Writers Club who were meeting in one of the classrooms and were more than happy to participate by dropping, covering and holding on.  While EPSC Volunteer Barry Fisher handled the Santa Rosa Golf Pro Shop!  Robert Jester handled the fitness center and staff offices where he found the staff to be very helpful during the drill and assisted in getting residents to comply with our directions.

EPSC Volunteers Patti Petersen was assigned to the Tennis and Pickleball courts outside the Santa Rosa and she reported outstanding participation! Approximately 80% of both groups did the full drill – dropped on the hot cement, sought cover under the table and the bocce ball benches, and held on.  Patti was very impressed with the level of their enthusiasm to participate.

EPSC Volunteer John Petersen reported in from the Santa Rosa Outdoor Pool - 6 people in pool, 2 seated around pool. None actually actively participated in the drill, but all listened and watched his demonstration of dropping to his hands and knees and crawling to the nearest wall. John instructed those in the pool that, in the case of an earthquake, they should get out of the pool immediately and crawl to the nearest chair or wall to protect themselves. All were very appreciative of the information and demonstration.

From the Montecito:

Cynthia Bakshy, EPSC Volunteer reporting from The Montecito Clubhouse. Our team arrived 15 minutes early to scope out all the areas and see how many residents were inside. We explained the appropriate action to take if they were in the Montecito during an actual earthquake. Our team invited residents to participate and encouraged those who could not physically get under a table, to observe our demonstrations.

Linda Stackpoole, EPSC Volunteer reported that the residents in the Art Studio listened and one person actively participated, as the other residents observed.

EPSC Volunteers, Jim Hansen & Chris Stevens, reported the residents in the Billiards Room were a bit apprehensive about going under the pool tables, however, did listen to the alternative options given for their safety.  Cheryl Lopez, EPSC Volunteer covered the Community Singers in the ballroom. Kathy Rosandich was very receptive to Cheryl's demonstration. All the members participated in getting up from their chairs, moving to the sides of the room, and most covering their heads.

Connie King, Lifestyles Director, Liz Guiterrez and Carmen Clay at the Lifestyles desk were all fully engaged. We pointed out all the windows in their offices and surrounding areas and demonstrated how the glass would project outward toward the front desk area. Cynthia crawled under the front desk and showed them how to hold on.  Connie even pointed out to also place the desk chair in front to further protect themselves from flying glass.

The small group of 6 residents playing cards were a bit hesitant in the beginning, seeing that the table was way too low to crawl under. After discussing with them alternative escape routes they were very appreciative for the info we shared!  Overall, though there were very few residents in the clubhouse that day. Those that were present were very appreciative that we made them much more aware of their surroundings.

EPSC Volunteer, Terry Coon was inside the Fitness Center and reports, we had 5 Emergency Preparedness members go over to the Montecito Fitness Center.  We arrived about 10 mins. ahead of the drill, so we walked around the facility and spoke either with individuals or in one case, an entire group/class of exercise/dancers in the Dance Studio.  We invited residents to participate and encouraged those who may choose not to participate, at least watch others so they could see what would be appropriate to do in an actual earthquake.

Almost all of the dancers participated and many of the folks in the gym participated as well.  Everyone we spoke with prior to the drill was very positive and showed interest in the drill!  The staff at the fitness center were helpful to our volunteers and also actively participated in the drill, taking cover under their desk areas.  It was a very positive experience.


EPSC Volunteer, Erin Smith reported in from the HOA Offices and said that her team, including Julie Sandoval and Linda Delodovici entered the HOA offices and made their announcements to all available staff members.  Most staff participated or watched intently as the 60 second drill countdown began.  Erin even had to interrupt an important meeting taking place inside the Coachella Room involving staff members, Rich Smetana and Vanessa Ayon and Board Members, Kim Fuller and Fera Mostow, who were happy to have their meeting interrupted by our drill.  Well, maybe not exactly happy, but they understood the importance of practicing what they would do if the Big One were to hit while they were at work.  We are pleased to report virtually all staff members present were well prepared to crawl under desks, tables or chairs and wait for the “shaking” to stop.  In the case of a real emergency, the HOA will be well prepared to ride it out and Drop, Cover and Hold.

From the Chair of the Emergency Preparedness Sub-Committee:

Jeff Kirkpatrick, Chairperson of the EPSC, was pleased to say that 20 of our current EPSC Volunteers arrived at the Emergency Operations Center prior to the event and received radios, vests, nametags, other equipment, area assignments, and a briefing about the drill exercise!  Each member was provided a script with which to speak to patron participants and gently introduce the drill and its intent.

This Sun City Shadow Hills Earthquake Preparedness Drill targeted not only residents in our public buildings; but also, all staff members present. As has been reported by the various Team Leaders, the resident member participation was extremely high!  One of the greatest lessons taught and learned by those present was the concept of ‘situational awareness.’  Decisions about how to react to an event are determined by an immediate assessment of where you are the moment the earthquake strikes.

Rules of thumb include:  NEVER stand in doorways; NEVER immediately run out of a building; ALWAYS, regardless of where you are while on foot, DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON!  DROP when you first feel the first shaking, regardless of how strong the earthquake might become.  DROP to the floor/ground before the earthquake drops you – this can prevent broken wrists, arms, knees, and skulls!  DO crawl away from windows, glass, mirrors, and unsecured wall furniture and decorations.  DO take COVER under nearby tables, desks, chairs, counters, or anything that will protect your head and neck!

When the shaking stops and you think it is safe to move, calmly get up and WALK out of the building you are in.  Beware of aftershocks that follow the main event and repeat the DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON exercise until you have safely exited the building.  Move far enough away from the building so that building walls, windows, and roofing materials cannot fall on you.  Do not re-enter the building/home until it is deemed safe to do so.

To learn more, please attend one of the Disaster Preparation-101 classes presented at the Montecito Clubhouse.  Dates and times are posted here.  Register for these free seminars at the Montecito Lifestyles Desk.  Please join us and become prepared.  It really is quite easy!

If you would like to become a volunteer with the Emergency Preparedness Sub-Committee, please fill out an Advisory Committee Interest Form.