What are the Great ShakeOut earthquake drills?

ShakeOut GIF

ShakeOut GIF showing what to do in an earthquake if you are near a sturdy desk or table.(Public domain.)

The Great ShakeOut earthquake drills are based on scenario earthquakes that could effect the area if they were to actually take place. Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills are an annual opportunity for people in homes, schools, and organizations to practice what to do during earthquakes, and to improve preparedness.  These events are made possible through a collaboration between several agencies including the USGS.

Related Content

Filter Total Items: 8

Why should people in the eastern U.S. be concerned about earthquakes?

1) Severe earthquakes have occurred in the Eastern U.S.: In November of 1755, an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 6.0 and a maximum intensity of VIII occurred about 50 miles northeast of Boston, Massachusetts. Boston was heavily damaged. Other strong earthquakes recorded in the continental US were centered in southeastern Missouri near...

What is the "Triangle of Life" and is it legitimate?

The "Triangle of Life" is a misguided idea about the best location a person should try to occupy during an earthquake. Based on observations of an earthquake in Turkey, the idea doesn't apply to buildings constructed within the United States. Drop, cover, and hold under a table or desk is still the best recommendation , according to the American...

What do I do AFTER an earthquake?

WEAR STURDY SHOES to avoid injury from broken glass and debris. Expect aftershocks CHECK FOR INJURIES If a person is bleeding, put direct pressure on the wound, use clean gauze or cloth if available If a person is not breathing administer CPR DO NOT attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in further danger of injury COVER injured...

What can I expect in my house when an earthquake occurs? How do I identify it? What can be done?

The contents of your home may be damaged and can be dangerous: Shaking can make light fixtures fall, refrigerators and other large items move across the floor, and bookcases and television sets topple over. IDENTIFY: Look around your house for things that could fall or move. Ask yourself if your cupboard doors could fly open (allowing dishes to...

What can I do to be prepared for an earthquake?

Estimate what EQ of what size are likely to occur (geology) Given the EQ size we then estimate what the shaking will be (seismology) Given the shaking estimate the response of different types of buildings (EQ engineering). Only with all these steps can we act as a society to enact bldg. codes and retrofitting programs to make our community safer...

What emergency supplies do I need for an earthquake?

Fire extinguisher Adequate supplies of medications that you or family members are taking Crescent and pipe wrenches to turn off gas and water supplies First-aid kit and handbook Flashlights with extra bulbs and batteries Portable radio with extra batteries Water for each family member for at least two weeks (allow at least 1 gallon per person per...

What should I do DURING an earthquake?

If you are INDOORS--STAY THERE! Get under a desk or table and hang on to it ( Drop, Cover, and Hold on! ) or move into a hallway or against an inside wall. STAY CLEAR of windows, fireplaces, and heavy furniture or appliances. GET OUT of the kitchen, which is a dangerous place (things can fall on you). DON'T run downstairs or rush outside while the...

What should I NOT do during an earthquake?

DO NOT turn on the gas again if you turned it off; let the gas company do it DO NOT use matches, lighters, camp stoves or barbecues, electrical equipment, appliances UNTIL you are sure there are no gas leaks. They may create a spark that could ignite leaking gas and cause an explosion and fire DO NOT use your telephone, EXCEPT for a medical or...
Filter Total Items: 7
Date published: October 18, 2017

Are You Ready to ShakeOut on October 19?

Do you know what to do the moment the ground starts shaking? Drop, Cover, and Hold On!

Date published: April 27, 2011

Preparing for the Great ShakeOut Drill: Handbook Offers Vital Earthquake History and Preparedness Information to Central U.S. Residents

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) encourages people to join the millions in 11 states who have signed up to participate in the April 28, 2011, Great Central U.S. ShakeOut drill. The upcoming 200th anniversary of the New Madrid earthquakes is an opportune time to consider earthquake preparedness and learn about the region’s earthquake history.

Date published: March 4, 2010

Local organizations receive communication awards for ShakeOut

Menlo Park, Calif. -- Southern California scientists, emergency planners, businesses, and organizations who worked on communication efforts for the 2008 earthquake drill ShakeOut received a prestigious federal award Wednesday at the U.S. Geological Survey’s facilities here.

Date published: December 19, 2008

Results Are In: Great Southern California ShakeOut Successful, Sets U.S. Record!

Now Planning for 2009 

Los Angeles - It's working! On November 13, 2008 more than 5.47 million people in southern California participated in The Great Southern California ShakeOut, now officially the largest earthquake drill in the Nation's history - and according to some community leaders, a success that should be practiced every year. 

Date published: November 10, 2008

One-Stop Web Shop for USGS Great ShakeOut Science Resources Now Open

You can now view video interviews, see earthquake animations and impacts, download high-resolution imagery and much more, all related to the USGS science behind the Great Southern California ShakeOut, all in one place:

Date published: October 28, 2008

Earthquakes? Don’t Freak Out--ShakeOut!

What if you knew that a magnitude 7.8 earthquake would happen in less than three weeks? In a new video interview, USGS earthquake scientist Dr. Lucy Jones explains that millions of Southern Californians will be preparing as if they do know, thanks to the Great Southern California ShakeOut.

Date published: August 13, 2008

Don’t be Left Out! Three Months to ShakeOut

Three months from today, at 10 a.m. on November 13, millions of southern Californians will drop to the ground, take cover under a table or desk, and hold on. An earthquake prediction? No. But it is certain that the Great Southern California ShakeOut is on track to being the largest earthquake drill in United States history.

Filter Total Items: 18
September 27, 2018

PubTalk 9/2018 - Hayward Earthquake

Title: The 150th Anniversary of the Damaging 1868 Hayward Earthquake: Why It Matters and How We Can Prepare for Its Repeat

  • The Hayward Fault in the heart of the Bay Area is one of the most urbanized faults in the US.
  • Studies of the fault reveal that it has produced 12 large earthquakes in the past 2000 years spaced 100-220 years apart.
  • There
...
January 25, 2018

PubTalk 1/2018 — ShakeAlert: Path to West Coast EQ Early Warning

Title: ShakeAlert: The Path to West Coast Earthquake Early Warning ... how a few seconds can save lives and property

  • The ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system will begin limited operations this year.
  • Alerts could save lives and properties but several challenges remain.
  • With millions at risk, why isn't full public alerting happening yet?
...
ShakeOut GIF
October 11, 2016

ShakeOut GIF

ShakeOut GIF showing step four "minimize financial hardship" of the seven steps to earthquake safety.

ShakeOut GIF
October 11, 2016

ShakeOut GIF

ShakeOut GIF on what to do during an earthquake if you are driving a car.

ShakeOut GIF
October 11, 2016

ShakeOut GIF

ShakeOut GIF showing step one "secure your space" of the seven steps to earthquake safety.

ShakeOut GIF
October 11, 2016

ShakeOut GIF

ShakeOut GIF showing what to do in an earthquake if you are near a sturdy desk or table.

ShakeOut GIF
October 11, 2016

ShakeOut GIF

ShakeOut GIF on what to do during an earthquake if you are near the shore.

ShakeOut GIF
October 11, 2016

ShakeOut GIF

ShakeOut GIF showing what to do in an earthquake if you are in a stadium or theater.

Image: Students Conduct Earthquake Preparedness Drill
October 18, 2012

Students Conduct Earthquake Preparedness Drill

Students participate in the Great Southeast ShakeOut earthquake drill at Langston Hughes Middle School in Reston, Virginia. They are conducting the "drop, cover and hold on" safety procedure.

A map of ShakeOut scenario shaking in southern California
December 31, 2008

A map of ShakeOut scenario shaking in southern California

A map of ShakeOut scenario shaking in southern California.

USGS
November 16, 2008

Secretary Kempthorne and Mark Myers Share Thoughts on ShakeOut

Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and USGS Director Mark Myers reflect on the successes of The Great Southern California ShakeOut—the largest earthquake preparedness drill in U.S. history.

USGS
November 4, 2008

What is the Great Southern California ShakeOut?

Listen to hear the answer.