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The Great Southern California ShakeOut
The Great Southern California ShakeOut

What Individuals and Families Can Do


We're all in this together-- the more you do to prepare now, before a big earthquake, the better all our lives will be after. And with your participation, ShakeOut will be the largest earthquake drill in U.S. history!

Here are some of the things individuals and families can do to participate in the ShakeOut, to promote participating in the ShakeOut, and to prepare for big earthquakes.

Participate in the ShakeOut:

  • Today:   Register to be counted in the ShakeOut Drill, get email updates, and more.

  • Between now and November 13:   Consider what may happen in a big earthquake and plan what you will do now to prepare, so that when it happens you will be able to recover quickly. Talk to other people about what they have done, and encourage them to join you in getting more prepared.

  • November 13, 10 a.m.:
    1. Drop, Cover, and Hold On:   Drop to the ground, take Cover under a table or desk, and Hold On to it as if a magnitude 7.8 earthquake were happening (stay down for at least 60 seconds). Practice now so you will immediately protect yourself during earthquakes! (See this page for what to do if you are in bed, outside, driving, in a tall building, or other situations.)

    2. While still under the table, or wherever you are, look around and imagine what would happen in a big earthquake, when shaking may last for 1-2 minutes! What would fall on you or others? What would be damaged? What would life be like after? What will you do before the actual earthquake happens to reduce losses and quickly recover?

    3. Finally, you can practice what you will do after the shaking stops.

    4. (Detailed drill suggestions will be provided to registered participants.)

  • November 14:   Attend the Get Ready Rally to learn more and share stories about the ShakeOut drill.

  • November 14-16:   Complete your disaster plan or supply kits, or attend a local preparedness event.

Promote the ShakeOut:

ShakeOut Flyer

For Residents

(1.8 MB PDF)


  • Invite everyone who matters to you to register for the ShakeOut. With your help this can become the largest earthquake drill in U.S. history!

  • As a registered participant, you can login and send emails from your personal ShakeOut webpage to encourage people to join you in the ShakeOut.

  • Host a ShakeOut Block Party. Invite your neighbors over for coffee and share preparedness information, exchange phone numbers, and create an inventory of special skills (search and rescue, first aid, equipment) and needs (elderly, children, pets, medication, etc.) in your community. Also, encourage everyone to register while there, especially those without internet access.

  • Encourage your community, faith-based group, or employer to register for the ShakeOut as well, and to develop ShakeOut participation events.

Prepare for earthquakes:

What we do now, before the earthquake, will determine what our lives will be like after. The following are key actions from the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety which has additional things you can do to prepare.

  • Do a "hazard hunt" for items that might fall in your home during earthquakes and secure them.

  • Create a personal or family disaster-preparedness plan.
    • Plan for your family's specific needs (seniors, disabled, children, pets).
    • Teach all household members how to use a fire extinguisher.
    • Create wallet cards for each family member with essential contact information.
  • Organize or refresh your emergency supply kits.
    • Store at least one gallon of water per person, per day, for 3 days and ideally for 2 weeks.
    • What else would you need to be on your own for up to 2 weeks?
    • What would you need if you are in your car or office when the earthquake strikes?
  • Identify your building's weaknesses. Ask a local earthquake retrofitting contractor for a free structural inspection of your home or building. Also, review your insurance coverage, whether home-owner or renter. Consider whether earthquake insuranceis right for you.

  • Create a game where everyone responds to a signal by practicing Drop Cover and Hold On. Talk to your children about what to expect during and after an earthquake.

  • Enroll in a local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training to learn more about how to take care of yourself and your family when you are "on your own" after a disaster.

  • Provide non-English speaking members of your family, neighborhood or community with written information in their language.

Download the ShakeOut Factsheet For Residents


© 2008 Southern California Earthquake Center @