Participating in the 2016 Great California ShakeOut

The Great California ShakeOut

2016 Great California ShakeOut

2016 Great California ShakeOut

You’ve probably heard about it before, but what exactly is the Great California ShakeOut? The Great California ShakeOut is a statewide earthquake drill that occurs annually every third Thursday of October. This year, it is scheduled to happen on Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 10:20am. I highly recommend that you, your business, and/or your family take part of this potentially lifesaving earthquake drill.

California is at a higher risk of experiencing an earthquake than the rest of the United States, and it makes sense to prepare ourselves to be able to survive an earthquake. By participating in this drill, you will be able to practice what to do during and after a big earthquake.

Other states and regions will hold their ShakeOut on different dates. Check the ShakeOut website and choose the appropriate region in the dropdown menu to find out when your drill will take place.

Drop, Cover and Hold On

Drop, Cover and Hold On is the battle cry of the Great California ShakeOut and is the recommended course of action during an earthquake. This protocol says that when an earthquake happens, you should:

  1. DROP to the ground.
  2. Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table.
  3. HOLD ON to the desk or table until the shaking stops.

A more detailed explanation of the Drop, Cover and Hold On protocol, along with illustrative videos, can be found on the Great California ShakeOut website. Take the time to review the content provided on the ShakeOut website. You can also download the ShakeOut – Recommended Earthquake Safety Actions PDF  and other info from their resources page.

If you have any more questions, The Great California Shakeout has a Frequently Asked Questions section.

Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety

Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety

Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety. Click on image to visit website.

Doing the drill is only one part of preparing for a devastating earthquake. The Earthquake Country Alliance, an organization whose mission statement is “to support and coordinate efforts which improve earthquake and tsunami resilience”, has created a seven-step guide for earthquake safety preparation. As you can see, the Drop, Cover, and Hold On protocol is step number five in the steps outlined below. Their website goes into more detail about its Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety and visiting it is highly recommended.

  1. Secure your space – Identify hazards and secure moveable items.
  2. Plan to be safe – Create a disaster plan and decide how you will communicate in an emergency.
  3. Organize disaster supplies – These supplies should be located in convenient locations.
  4. Minimize financial hardship – Organize important documents, strengthen your property, and consider insurance.
  5. Drop, Cover, and Hold On – Follow this protocol when the earth shakes.
  6. Improve Safety – After an earthquake, evacuate if necessary, help the injured, and prevent further injuries or damage in order to improve safety.
  7. Reconnect and Restore – Reconnect with others, repair damage, and rebuild community to restore daily life.


In closing, the following is a quick summary of what to do to prepare for the Great California ShakeOut.

  1. Register – Register yourself or your family, your school, or business for the Great California ShakeOut.
  2. Prepare – Prepare for the drill and real earthquakes by following the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety.
  3. Share – Share what you have learned with others — your family, friends, colleagues — so that they benefit also from the preparations. Encourage them to participate in the ShakeOut as well.
  4. Participate – Set your calendar notifications for October 20 at 10:20am. Come that time, follow the recommended steps of Drop, Cover and Hold On as part of the drill. You can make your drill as straightforward or as involved as you want, with the goal of learning what to do in the event of an earthquake emergency. Afterwards, celebrate with your colleagues or family for a job well done.

So mark your calendars for the 2016 ShakeOut. While you’re at it, you might as well mark next year’s also, as it is scheduled to take place on October 19, 2017.

Stay Safe

Emergency Preparedness "ready to go" kit.

Washington, DC, July 22, 2008 — A Red Cross “ready to go” preparedness kit showing the bag and it’s contents. Red Cross photograph

We never know when a large magnitude earthquake is going to happen. All we can do is be well prepared like a good scout. But, by following the steps above, you can rest assured that you’re well-prepared to handle the big one like a champ in case it comes. Here’s to a successful Great California ShakeOut drill and stay safe!