Quake drill to close county for 15 minutes

Thurston County government will temporarily shut down next week for an earthquake drill.

All county offices and departments will close for 15 minutes at 1:15 p.m. Sept. 2. The Sheriff’s Office will be on emergency protocol, but emergency response and 911 will not be interrupted, County Manager Don Krupp said.

The drill will begin with a 30-second “drop, cover and hold” exercise.

Employees and visitors then will evacuate buildings and meet at designated rally points where site managers will take roll and report to incident command.

To make the drill realistic, assembly areas could change once the drill begins. Residents who find themselves in county buildings during the drill should expect to take part in the exercise, Krupp said.

The last large-scale earthquake drill for county offices was in April 2008, says John Tennis, the county’s public information program manager.

County officials say the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, which damaged numerous buildings including the Capitol, is a prime example why periodic drills are important.

“The more practice and more familiar people are with the proper routines, the more likely (it is) that folks will remember and know what to do,” Krupp said.

Thurston County employs about 1,080 people.

County risk-management and other county facilities will file reports to document compliance with state regulations, according to the county.

Nate Hulings: 360-754-5476 nhulings@theolympian.com