Pasadena Residents, Schools, Businesses, Government Departments Participate in Earthquake Drill – Pasadena Now

Leading by example—Pasadena’s “movers and shakers,” including Mayor Victor Gordo, Vice Mayor Vanya De La Cuba, City Manager Miguel Marquez, City Attorney Michele Bagneris and City Clerk Mark Jomsky along with city department staff—participated in the exercise to earthquake ShakeOut on Thursday.

At Pasadena Unified School Campuses, thousands of students “dropped, covered and held” before being evacuated outside to school fields under sunny skies.

Pasadena City College students at the college’s four different campuses conducted a full evacuation as part of the drill, with students heading to the nearest designated evacuation area.

The exercises in Pasadena reflect the emergency preparedness that is being undertaken mmillions of people in government offices, businesses and schools across Los Angeles County who stopped everything for a minute Thursday to “drop, cover and hold” during a nationwide earthquake preparedness drill that has been underway for 15 years.

Students at Pasadena Unified’s McKinley School were evacuated to nearby sports fields during the 2023 ShakeOut earthquake drill. [Pasadena Unified School District]

The Great California earthquake of 2023 officially happened at 10:19 a.m. Thursday.

“Everyone, everywhere, should know how to protect themselves during an earthquake – at work, at school, at home, or even while traveling,” said a statement posted on “Great ShakeOut earthquake drills are a once-a-year chance for everyone to practice ‘drop, cover and hold’ and learn other earthquake safety tips.”

Annual drills provide opportunities for millions to learn and practice earthquake safety.

The website ShakeOut indicated that 8.8 million Californians were scheduled to participate in the exercise, down from 9.2 million last year.

The exercises began in 2008.

In Los Angeles County, the number of registered participants for the 2023 ShakeOut was 3,134,586. That’s down slightly from the previous year’s figure of 3.2 million.

According to, the goal is to highlight safety precautions during an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 or greater along the southernmost part of the San Andreas Fault.

Officials say such a tectonic shift could send waves of motion hundreds of miles in four minutes. According to the US Geological Survey, about 2,000 people will die, tens of thousands will be injured and more than $200 billion in damage will occur. The cataclysm would be 50 times stronger than the Northridge earthquake of January 17, 1994.

Hundreds of aftershocks would follow — some nearly as large as the initial quake, according to the USGS.

The 2019 drill came a little more than three months after the early July earthquakes that struck Ridgecrest. The 6.4 and 7.1 magnitude quakes caused significant damage to roads and structures in the village, which is south of the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Base.

Californians should be prepared to be self-sufficient for 72 hours after a major disaster. That includes having a first aid kit, medicine, food and enough water for each member of the household to drink one gallon a day, according to local and state officials.

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