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Healthcare Organizations

Californians 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 hospitals, clinics, medical offices, dialysis centers, long term care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and other healthcare organizations 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 ever!

Other ways to participate:
Which healthcare organizations
are participating?


California Hospital Association

The California Hospital Association Hospital Preparedness Program (CHA HPP) and Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center co-lead the hospital/medical facilities planning committee for the Earthquake Country Alliance. The committee has developed and provided a hospital drill manual and a collection of resources for use in planning for and participating in ShakeOut. In addition to developing this resource the CHA HPP promotes this exercise and encourages all hospitals to participate in some manner.



  • Register your healthcare organization to be counted in the ShakeOut Drill, get email updates, and more.

Between now and October 15:

  • Consider what may happen in a major earthquake and plan what your organization will do now to get prepared, so that when it happens you will be able to recover quickly.

  • Talk to other healthcare organizations about what they have done, and encourage them to join you in getting more prepared.

  • Plan your drill using one of the three levels of sample drills in the ShakeOut Drill Manual for Healthcare (PDF). These provide guidance for earthquake-specific drills specific to hospitals but can be adapted to other healthcare organizations. Be sure to include a "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" element for all employees.

  • The ECA Healthcare Committee has organized a comprehensive set of Resources for Healthcare Entities Participating in the Great California ShakeOut Drill, that include ShakeOut materials developed by member organizations.

  • "Great California ShakeOut Manager’s Instruction Sheet" for Hospitals (Microsoft Word) is a one-page editable guide that provides instructions for how to prepare and implement a basic Drop, Cover, and Hold On drill in a hospital setting. It can be adapted for other healthcare facilities as well.

  • "Recommended Earthquake Safety Actions" (PDF) is a two-page document that provides instructions for how to protect yourself during earthquakes for a variety of situations (in bed, outdoors, if you cannot "Drop, Cover, and Hold On", near the coast, etc.

  • Download the Audio and Video "Drill Broadcast" recordings that have been created to provide instructions during your drill (Video versions have text captions).

October 15, 10:15 a.m.:

  • Conduct your drill. If you did not choose a drill from the ShakeOut Drill Manual for Non Profits and Other Organizations or Great California ShakeOut Manager’s Instruction Sheet, then follow these simple steps, in addition to other plans particular to your facility that you may want to exercise:

    1. Drop, Cover, and Hold On: Have your staff   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.) For people with disabilities or access and functional needs, download our preparedness guide (661 KB) PDF.

    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 staff 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
  • Visit MyHazards (California Governor's Office of Emergency Services) to discover the hazards that exist in your area and learn how to reduce YOUR risk!

  • Have each department do a facility inspection for non-structural items that might fall and be damaged or cause injury and secure them.

  • Identify hazards and special needs in each department.

  • Develop, review or exercise your business continuity plan with employees to identify and practice their responsibilities.
    • Create or review your employee contact lists and communication plan.
    • Locate utility shut off valves; make sure employees know the location, procedure and responsibilities.
    • Inventory special skills within your organization useful in a disaster (amateur radio operator, search and rescue, etc.)
    • Include your critical need vendors in disaster planning. Create post-disaster agreements.
    • The DRB Toolkit interactive software application is designed to assist small to midsize orgnizations build a comprehensive disaster plan and continuity program. Organizations receive a 50% discount code for the software when they register for the ShakeOut.

  • Organize or refresh your emergency equipment - fire extinguishers, first aid, flashlights, food, crank radios, satellite phones, generator, fuel; make sure employees know the location and how to utilize supplies.

  • 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?

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

  • Provide non-English speaking employees with written preparedness information in their language.


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The Great California ShakeOut