The Great Shakeout – October 20th – Earthquake Drill


Register Today!

The annual worldwide Great Shakeout earthquake drill is this Thursday, October 20th and starts at 10:20 AM PDT. The goal of the drill is to help save lives from an earthquake by practicing drop, cover and hold under a desk, table, or other sturdy items together as a group or individually.

Millions of people around the globe will again participate in this annual earthquake drill including families, businesses, schools, health care facilities, faith-based organizations, neighborhood groups and more.

Register today at  Over 1.5 million people in Washington registered last year and so far this year, over 1.2 million people have registered.  Schools use this event as their October monthly emergency drill.

The earthquake drill will kick off when the Emergency Alert System (EAS) is activated at 10:20 AM PDT on Thursday the 20th. The EAS message will be aired by all radio and TV broadcasters, and cable systems statewide, as well as through your all-hazard NOAA Weather Radio receiver(s). The network of close to 100 All-Hazard Alert Broadcast (AHAB) outdoor siren and speaker systems from the outer coast to the North Sound will also be activated.

Like a fire drill at school or work, this is your moment to drop, cover and hold for a minute. Have fun with the event like taking photos and videos while under a table or desk, and post them on social media including on the Facebook or Twitter site.

If the time of Thursday morning’s drill is inconvenient, you can always conduct your own earthquake drill at another time. A good resource for creating your own drill is found at this Shakeout website.

Don’t Let This Be You

Washington is earthquake country, the second most threatened state in the nation, second to California. The North Sound region is particularly vulnerable thanks to the South Whidbey Island fault crossing the region. Geologic history and projections indicate this fault can produce close to a 7.0 magnitude earthquake with substantial shaking.

There are other regional earthquake faults with long histories such as the Seattle fault and the Tacoma fault. And then there is the Cascadia Subduction Zone just off the Pacific Northwest coast that history shows can produce around a 9.0 magnitude quake. This subduction zone is similar to those off Japan that produced a major earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, plus off the coast of Alaska, the west coast of South America such as Chile, and around many Pacific Ocean basin coastlines.

Earthquakes are no notice events and can happen at any time. We all spend about a third of our lives in bed sleeping. If an earthquake occurs then, simply stay in bed and cover your head with a pillow. Have a pair of hard soled shoes under your bed and slip them on after the shaking stops to ensure you do not step on any broken glass – the number one cause of earthquake injuries.

In addition, the Great Shakeout drill provides the opportunity to practice your backup communication plan. An earthquake will likely occur when we are not at home, and phones and transportation corridors may no longer be accessible. Know in advance how and who to reach in case phone systems are down.

For more earthquake preparedness information such as a backup communication plan and how to secure items in your home or business, visit Washington Earthquake Preparedness .

Register for the Great Shakeout today and have fun with the drill on Thursday morning at 10:20 AM, but be ready when it’s real.  Together with other readiness efforts, you will be better prepared when the next earthquake occurs.

Here are some helpful earthquake preparedness videos and information.

When an earthquake strikes, will you know what to do?

Great Shakeout Public Service Announcement

ShakeAlert – What is it and how does it work?

Two Weeks Ready: Craft an Emergency Kit

Tsunami wave simulation for Washington State