Great Shake-Out Helps You Prepare for Earthquakes

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

What’s the best way to prepare for a major earthquake? Practice, practice, practice. On October 17, 2019 the Great ShakeOut drill is an opportunity for families, friends and businesses to be prepared to survive and recover quickly from devastating earthquakes—wherever you live, work, or travel.

You may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake. So it is important to be prepared, know what to do and always have a plan. Most earthquake-related injuries and deaths are caused by collapsing walls and roofs, flying glass and falling objects.

The ShakeOut drill reminds you to practice the basics of how to react should a major quake begin.  Remember to Drop, Cover, and Hold On.


Drop: Drop onto your hands and knees and stay low, as this keeps you from falling over in the swaying or being knocked over by debris.

Cover: Cover your head and neck with an arm and crawl under a sturdy shelter, away from windows.

Hold On: Hold on tight to whatever sturdy table or desk you’ve gotten under until the shaking ends.

Join the Great ShakeOut

Every person who works, lives and plays in California can participate in the drill on October 17, 2019 at 10:17 a.m. Register your family, your school, business or community organization. By registering, you or your organization will have peace of mind that you, your family, your co-workers, your community and millions of others will be better prepared to survive and recover quickly from California’s next big earthquake.

Make a family plan. Learn about earthquake safety tips. Imagine a real earthquake and how you would react to it.

Practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On.

Identify a safe place in each room of your home away from windows and bookshelves.

Designate an out of state contact for family members to check in.

View earthquake safety videos to share with family, friends and co-workers.

Teach Your Kids to Prepare for Earthquakes

Involving children in earthquake safety can make a difference. Preschools and K-12 schools have already registered in the Great ShakeOut as have Girl Scout, Campfire and Boy Scout troops.

Great ShakeOut games and activities have been designed to engage children in the weeks before the October 17 event.

Learn about earthquake safety precautions and how to prepare your family and your home, before the next damaging earthquake strikes.

To help you plan for the Great ShakeOut drill, visit the resources developed for schools, colleges, government offices, businesses and non-profit organizations.

All of California is earthquake country. A 2015 study has forecast a 99.7% chance of one or more major earthquakes striking California in the coming years.

Be prepared before, during, and after an earthquake by learning the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety.

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