By Jillian Robertson, Red Cross digital communications manager
Back in October, I joined other members of the American Red Cross LA team, including CEO Jarrett Barrios, to visit YouTube stars The Try Guys at their studios in Atwater Village to film a video about earthquake preparedness.
Have you met The Try Guys? In 2014, four friends, Keith, Ned, Zach and Eugene, came together to form the group when they started wondering what it was like to try out different things like wearing heels and acupuncture. The simple act of trying led to Buzzfeed and then to millions of viewers under the simple moniker The Try Guys. The foursome was so successful they ultimately split off to form their own company, where they continue to produce funny, informative videos under their own brand. The videos they produce garner millions of views, but on a fateful day in July, their interest shifted to disaster preparedness.
During the July 4th weekend, two major earthquakes struck Southern California, a 6.9 magnitude and a 7.2 magnitude. The back-to-back quakes shook houses, sloshed swimming pools and brought the fear of earthquakes roaring back into the minds of Southern California residents and leading to a call to the American Red Cross.
Thus, we arrived at the unassuming house in Atwater Village, which was formerly one of The Try Guys’ homes, their full-time production studio, complete with cameras, props, backdrops, staff and a bank of editing computers and software.
I sat off-screen for the majority of the shoot (look for my brief cameo at minute 5:04) as CEO Jarrett Barrios shared the sobering reality that we are overdue for the next Big One. Yet the conversation was far from serious. My colleague Marilyn and I shook with silent laughter as Jarrett coached the guys on how to protect themselves during an earthquake.
Speaking to their 6.75 million YouTube subscribers, The Try Guys demonstrated earthquake preparedness dos and don’ts. As Ned and Keith squeezed under a desk, Zach dove headfirst under a tiny coffee table, managing to leave both his head and feet exposed, and Eugene (pictured below) neither dropped nor held on, though he did attempt to cover.
Jarrett coached The Try Guys through the proper DROP-COVER-HOLD ON position and then demonstrated how to shut off gas and water at The Try Guys studios, as this is one of the first things to do after the shaking stops to avoid fires or gas explosions.
Together, they walked through the studio identifying common hazards: non-anchored framed artwork; cabinets without earthquake hooks; as well as some less-common hazards unique to The Try Guys, such as fragile triceratops figurines (the dino-mascot of The Try Guys) and other props scattered around the studio that could become dangerous during an earthquake.
After we packed up our earthquake kits and left The Try Guys Studios, I couldn’t help but think about the real impact Keith, Ned, Zach and Eugene could have on helping people prepare for the next big one. Earthquakes can be scary and reaching people through humor is one more way to manage that fear — turning laughter into action. The video has since reached more than 2 million people, many of whom will likely remember to DROP-COVER-HOLD ON correctly when the next earthquake hits (hint: not with couch cushions).
Watch the video:
Ready to TRY disaster preparedness? Go to PrepareSoCal.org.