The Hayward Fault, which passes right next to the Lab’s hillsite, is one of many earthquake faults in Northern California. Any of the faults, at any time, can give way, resulting in tremendous energy that has the power to transform the landscape and lives.
“I’ve been through several large-ish earthquakes, such as the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989,” said Ayla Quesada, business continuity coordinator for Berkeley Lab’s Security and Emergency Services Division. “When the ground started shaking, I remember my mom telling us to shelter in the bathtub, but it wasn’t a good choice with all the glass in the room. We were young, but we reminded her that school taught us to get under something strong like a table. So we did. I realize that practicing removes the need to make instant choices by going through scenarios in advance.”
“Planning is step one in preparing for an earthquake, followed by practice,” said David von Damm, Division Director, Security and Emergency Services. “I consider everybody at the Lab to be part of the emergency management team because when a building needs to be evacuated, we need everybody to know where the emergency exits are, where the assembly area is located, how to check in on your phone for accountability, and how to receive emergency communication.”
“As part of the day-to-day operations at the Lab, we’re looking at ways to change how people react to drills and real emergencies. I think the hybrid work environment, where sometimes we’re in the office, and sometimes at home, may have desensitized us to building alarms or knowing where our emergency assembly areas are,” said von Damm.
On Thursday, when you receive a LabAlert that the drill has begun:
- Cover by taking shelter under something sturdy such as a desk or table.
- Hold on to the object so you can move with it if it moves during an actual earthquake.
After a few minutes, a second LabAlert message will instruct you to gather at the nearest Emergency Assembly Area (EAA). Grab your phone, wallet, and keys if you can do so safely. Use the QR code on the EAA sign to check-in. Once you have done that you are free to return to work. Read more about the drill.