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The Great Southern California ShakeOut
The Great Southern California ShakeOut

What Boy Scouts of America 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 Boy Scouts 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 your council/district or unit today to be counted in the ShakeOut Drill, get email updates, and more.

  • Between now and November 13:   Consider what may happen in a bigearthquake and plan what your unit will do now to prepare, so that when it happens you will be able to recover quickly. Talk to other units in the district or the council office about what they have done, and encourage them to join you in getting more prepared. Contact Eagle ScoutParents – "Be Prepared" Emergency Survival Preparedness program for help. (email and put ShakeOut in your subject line).

  • November 13, 10 a.m.:
    1. Drop, Cover, and Hold On:    Along with your fellow students and teachers 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). Have a discussion with your leader/teacher/parents on how to immediately protect yourselves during earthquakes!

    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 them or others? What would be damaged? What would life be like after? What will you and your unit do before the actual earthquake happens to reduce losses and quickly recover?

    3. Finally, your unit/council/district can practice what your fellow Scouts will do after the shaking stops.

      (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:

  • Invite your Board of Directors, District/Council Executives and staff members to register as individuals to participate in the ShakeOut.

  • Ask local businesses and organizations to display posters about ShakeOut in their customer areas and on their employee bulletin boards, as well as to put ShakeOut flyers at your their public counters. You might also ask them to include an article in their newsletter and add a link to on their website.

  • If you have a crew, troop, pack or post website, add a link to on your website; use one of several ShakeOut web banners.

  • Hold a meeting with your unit and share personal and family preparedness information and discuss what individuals and their families can do to ShakeOut. Have everyone register while at the meeting, especially those without internet access.

  • Once your unit is registered, you will receive ShakeOut preparedness tips, event updates, and more. Forward these to your membership and ask them to register, and forward the e-mails to everyone who matters to them. With your help this can become the largest earthquake drill in U.S. history!

  • Design and host preparedness events to encourage your community to join the ShakeOut and prepare for disasters. Create alliances with other organizations to make the event a bigger success. You may even promote the ShakeOut at your troop's Camporee, Scout-O-Rama, Merit Badge Midways, Exploring Musters and any other function that involves other troops and dens.

  • Eagle ScoutParents – "Be Prepared" Emergency Survival Preparedness program will be happy to help.

Prepare for earthquakes:

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

  • Encourage your leadership and family Scouting unit to get ready: The Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety is a good source for things individuals and families can do to prepare.

  • Inspect your troop or den meeting place for non-structural items (bookshelves, equipment, etc.) that might fall and be damaged or cause injury and secure them.

  • If your charter organization does not have a specific mission for disaster response, discuss what role is likely to emerge for your charter organization and begin to plan and create alliances to meet the mission of that role. If your charter organization has a specific mission for disaster response activities, review and drill your plan.

  • Develop, review or exercise your family continuity plan to identify and practice their responsibilities.
    • Create or review your family contact lists and communication plan.
    • Locate utility shut off valves; make sure you know the location and procedure for shut off.
    • Inventory special skills within your unit that are useful in a disaster (amateur radio operator, search and rescue, etc.)
    • Invite your local Fire Department or Emergency Preparedness Venturing Crew to explain earthquake safety practices and demonstrate fire extinguisher use.

  • Organize or refresh your emergency equipment - fire extinguishers, first aid, flashlights, food, crank radios, satellite phones, generator, fuel; make sure your unit knows the location and how to utilize supplies. Set up an emergency kit to bring on any and all patrol/troop or den/pack events.

  • Prepare every scout and adult leader their own emergency kits, starting with at least the "ten essentials."

  • Ask Eagle candidates to create Eagle Projects that involve equipping communities with earthquake precautions. This may take the form of securing dangerous objects that may fall in surrounding businesses and organizations, or educating schools about earthquake preparedness and the ShakeOut.

  • Be prepared for the possibility that your unit 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 staff or customers needed to remain in your meeting place or school for an extended length of time?

  • Learn to access and use California Integrated Seismic Network earthquake tools. CISN identifies the strength and location of earthquakes to assist you in making response decisions.

  • Promote advancement requirements that relate to first aid and emergency preparedness to your unit. Designate meetings where scouts focus on first aid and triage. Simulating disaster scenarios, specifically earthquake scenarios, is a very effective method in training your scouts.

  • Set goals regarding earthquake preparedness with these recommendations and hold troop and den meetings designated towards preparing your scouts, scout families, and community in earthquake preparedness.

  • Advancement through rank requires first aid training. Badges from Readyman through FIRST AID and EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS merit badges will have many of these skills attached to them. Your involvement will also help you meet requirements for the EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS National BSA pin.

  • Provide non-English speaking members and the community you serve with written preparedness information in their language.

  • Inspire the "Be Prepared" attitude.

© 2008 Southern California Earthquake Center @