MORONGO BASIN — Schoolchildren, firefighters and others here joined an estimated nine million of their fellow Californians in preparing for a massive earthquake Thursday.
The Great California Shakeout hit its biggest mark ever this year when about 9.4 million people signed up to participate.
Many stopped, dropped and took cover at 10:18 a.m., the time for the simulated earthquake.
Afterward, emergency professionals and volunteers demonstrated what might happen after a earthquake or other disaster, using the Hi-Desert Star’s building and parking lot as a staging area.
Volunteers with the Community Emergency Response Team, a group of trained civilians, donned masks, hard hats and gloves to venture into the building. They escorted or carried out victims and provided triage.
“They’ll go counter-clockwise and check every room,” Nancy Guinn, president of Morongo Basin CERT, explained to the audience as the action unfolded.
“They’ll do an initial assessment, check blood pressure and other vitals,” Guinn said. “CERT will step in until the professionals get there.”
Firefighter/paramedics with the state and county agencies demonstrated how they would take over, getting information from the civilians and then securing a wounded patient to a backboard.
Throughout the day, other experts provided tips on survival — from how to purify and store water to how to live when completely cut off from all resources.
Local veterinarians and animal rescue organizations reminded people to plan for their pets, too.
Sarah Poist, a registered veterinary technician, showed the disaster kits she’s packed for her dog and cat. Food, water and bandages are all sealed in water- and air-tight containers. She included a sweater, blanket and extra leash and, for mental health, a toy.
“Most importantly, we have a photo and medical history,” Vicki Ross, a veterinary assistant, said as she showed visitors the display.
Vendors demonstrated products such as portable solar ovens and freeze-dried food.
It was the second annual Shakeout expo organized by CERT.