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Local Government

We all must get better prepared before the next big earthquake, and practice how to protect ourselves when it happens. The purpose of the ShakeOut is to help people and organizations do both.

Scroll down for basic instructions for how government agencies, elected officials, and others can plan their drill, tips for getting prepared, and suggestions for sharing the ShakeOut with others. With your participation, this may be the largest earthquake drill in the Central U.S. ever!

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San Rafael OES logo

The City of San Rafael Office of Emergency Services has developed an intensive outreach campaign as part of the 2009 ShakeOut to prepare its residents. The campaign includes listings on city webpages, distribution of email notices and flyers to all city employees, businesses, schools, hospitals, etc., postings on fire station signs, media outreach, and much more. To learn more, download the implementation plan.



  • Register on behalf of your agency, office, or your all your city/county employees, to be counted in the ShakeOut Drill, to get email updates, and more.

  • Create a proclamation or resolution encouraging all your residents, businesses, and organizations to also register and participate in the ShakeOut.

Between now and October 20:

October 20, 2016, 10:20 a.m.:

  • Conduct your drill. If you did not choose a drill from the ShakeOut Drill Manual for Government Agencies and Facilities, then follow these simple steps:

    1. Drop, Cover, and Hold On: Instruct everyone to Drop to the ground, take Cover under a table or desk, and Hold On to it as if a major earthquake were happening (stay down for at least 60 seconds). Practice now so your staff will immediately protect themselves during earthquakes! (See this page for what to do if outside, driving, in a tall building, or other situations. Also, for people who can not drop to the ground, see our ShakeOut Drill Manual for People with Disabilities or Mobility Impairments.)

    2. While still under the table, or wherever you are, look around and imagine what would happen in a major earthquake. 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. (Optional) Practice what your agency or facility will do after the shaking stops.

  • After your drill is complete, have discussions about what was learned and incorporate these lessons into your disaster plan.


What we do now, before the next big earthquake, will determine what our lives will be like after.

Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety graphic
  • Encourage your Fire and Law Enforcement professionals to use ShakeOut to promote community preparedness.

  • Help individuals and families to get prepared. More information is available in the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety.

  • Encourage neighbors to create and practice a neighborhood earthquake plan.

  • Host a community meeting and invite the Fire Department to demonstrate fire extinguisher use and explain earthquake safety practices.

  • Fund a preparedness booth with giveaways at pre-existing events in your community.

  • Be prepared for the possibility that your employees may need to shelter in place for 2 – 3 days.
    • Store at least one gallon of water per person, per day.
    • What other supplies might you need if transportation routes were blocked and employees or customers needed to remain in your facility for an extended length of time?

  • Promote first responder and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training for your employees.


ShakeOut is a a great way to increase outreach and highlight the work of your city is already doing to promote Emergency Preparedness, such as…

  • Use your regular avenues of outreach to encourage all stakeholders in your area – employees, property owners, community group members, faith-based organizations, service clubs, chambers of commerce, customers, and visitors to register for and participate in the ShakeOut.

  • Use ShakeOut to prepare public employees: Personal and family preparedness are key to your employees’ availability to support response and recovery efforts after a disaster. Use your regular avenues of employee outreach (staff meetings, paycheck enclosures, newsletters, e-mail) to include messages of preparedness.

  • Download a sample draft resolution of intent to participate (31 KB Word document) and work to get a similar statement adopted by your city/county leaders.

  • Fund posters that can be placed in neighborhood businesses or local public spaces that promote your community as one that is prepared.

  • Put ShakeOut flyers at your public counters. Include a flyer in paycheck envelopes, or an article in your newsletter.

  • Tell everyone to watch "Preparedness Now", a compelling film that depicts what will happen in a "big one," and other videos.

  • Add a link to on your website; use one of several ShakeOut web banners.
©2016 SCEC Southern California Earthquake Center @ USC
The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut Step 1: Secure it now! Step 2: Make a plan Step 3: Make disaster kits Step 4: Is your place safe? Step 5: Drop, Cover, and Hold On Step 6: Check it out! Step 7: Communicate and recover!