Montecito Fire and the Montecito Emergency Response & Recovery Action Group (MERRAG) invite the community to practice and prepare for future earthquakes by participating in the annual Great California ShakeOut drill this week.

At exactly 10:20 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, MERRAG will hold a ShakeOut drill at Montecito Fire Station 91, 595 San Ysidro Road. This year’s scenario will include a complete power and communication failure within the district. MERRAG members will test their radio communication system, which includes designated radio carriers throughout the district.

Using pre-scripted scenarios, emergencies will be radioed in to simulate emergency needs in the community. Those simulated needs will be relayed to the Fire Department incident command for prioritization and appropriate response and action.

International ShakeOut Day is held the third Thursday of October. The self-led drill is a yearly opportunity to practice how to “Drop, Cover & Hold On,” to be safer when the next big earthquake occurs.
The safe response to an earthquake is to:
DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby.

COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand.

If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter.
If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows).
Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs.

HOLD ON until shaking stops

Under shelter: hold onto it with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts.
No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

MERRAG is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and serves as the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) for the Montecito community. For information, visit