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'This is a Great Oregon ShakeOut earthquake preparedness drill'

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Nothing breaks the peace and quiet of a public library quite like a siren.

Thank goodness this happens just once a year.

"This is a Great Oregon ShakeOut earthquake preparedness drill," Ken Vogeney announces via his bullhorn.

The Springfield city engineer jarred library patrons Thursday morning to get them to do something very important.

"You are directed to perform the drop, cover and hold-on procedure until the all clear signal is given," he said.

Some 540,000 Oregonians registered to take part in the drill statewide, a reminder of the earthquake risk we all face in the Pacific Northwest.

"The purpose of the Great Oregon ShakeOut drill is for people to practice what to do when an earthquake occurs," Vogeney said. "Not if an earthquake occurs, but when it occurs."

"In any structure, I think it's important," said Niel Laudati with the City of Springfield, "but especially here, an older building, you really need to be ready."

Just for good measure, they threw in a fire drill.

Is this preparedness overkill? Vogeney thinks not, especially at City Hall.

"The building is not as seismically resilient as we would want it to be," he said, "and Council has authorized us to begin doing some retrofits to the building."

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