Tomorrow is the Great American Samoa Shake Out
At 10:17 a.m. tomorrow, October 17, 2013, thousands of local residents will take part in the worldwide exercise aimed at revisiting preparedness in the event of an earthquake.
The Territorial Emergency Management Coordinating Office (TEMCO), under the AS Department of Homeland Security (ASDHS) will be conducting the Great American Samoa Shake Out— the largest earthquake drill in American Samoa history.
Over 24 million people from around the world will be participating as well.
In a telephone interview with Samoa News yesterday afternoon, TEMCO project coordinator Patrick Reid explained that the Shake Out is a global event that started in California in 2008 but has since branched out to include the participation of other countries like Japan, New Zealand, Italy, and other US states and territories.
Reid said this is the third year American Samoa will be participating in the exercise, but it is the first time locals can register for participation online at <www.ShakeOut.org/americansamoa>
He said the website is updated regularly but the last time he checked, the number of registered people had already passed 10,100.
The website also has other resources and tips on what to do in different situations during an earthquake.
Reid explained that the Shake Out is an exercise that is open to everyone, from schools to organizations, private businesses, families, and individuals.
He said there has been a huge turnout from the local Department of Education, with numerous high schools and elementary schools already registered to participate.
From the private sector, businesses like Star Kist Samoa and Blue Sky Communications are also on board with the effort.
At the set time of 10:17 a.m. tomorrow, everyone is urged to Drop (Fa’apau), Cover (Lafi), and Hold On (Taofi Mau).
“These are the recommended procedures during an earthquake and that is what we will be exercising tomorrow,” Reid said.
He added that the exercise should only last about a minute and it would be up to everyone to ensure that their clocks and watches are set to the right time, as there will be no prior notice given, and no sirens will go off to signal the start of the exercise.
Reid said it is their hope to conduct the exercise again next year, and they anticipate a higher number of participants at that time.
“The more, the better,” he concluded.
More information on the Shake Out can be obtained by contacting Patrick Reid or TEMCO outreach coordinator Faletoa Ulufale at 699-6481.
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