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How CERT Members Can Participate

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 CERT programs and their members 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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Il Sorrento Mobile Home Park in Moreno Valley, California is a 55+ community of approximately 300 residents. 22 members are CERT trained, and many others have had First Aid, CPR, and other training. In 2008 they had 32 Block Captains report the status of their 233 residences, and have already taken steps to improve their readiness, knowing that they will be on their own for several days.



  • Register your team to be counted in the ShakeOut Drill, get email updates, and more. Encourage all CERT members to register their families.

Between now and October 18:

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

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

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

October 18, 2018, 10:18 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 major 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 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. Test the notification/recall of your local CERT program. Record activation time.

  4. Practice what your team will do after the shaking stops. Unlike other groups, this may be the most important aspect of your group, as this is what CERT members are trained to do!

  5. 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
  • Help individuals and families to get prepared. More information is in the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety.

  • Create a block captain plan to go door-to-door to educate your neighbors on emergency preparedness.

  • Create a friendly competition among members. Host a “progressive party” from house to house, and give prizes for residents who have best secured items (bookshelves, equipment, etc.) that might fall and be damaged or cause injury.

  • Test alliances and MOU’s with your critical need vendors, community leaders and sponsoring organizations.

  • Organize a CERT refresher course.

  • Make sure all neighbors have an “OK/HELP” sign for their windows. Educate them that after an earthquake, they should post the sign in the window so neighbors know that everything is ok or that help is needed.

  • Check and test your team’s emergency equipment - fire extinguishers, first aid, flashlights, food, crank radios, satellite phones, generator, fuel; make sure CERT members know the location and how to utilize supplies.


  • Encourage your members to register as individuals or families.

  • Ask neighborhood businesses to display posters about ShakeOut in their windows and flyers at their counters.

  • 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.

  • Organize a ShakeOut Party. Invite members or other neighbors for coffee and share personal and family preparedness information and discuss what individuals and their families can do to ShakeOut. Have a computer so everyone can register while there, especially those without internet access.

  • Once you are registered, you will receive ShakeOut preparedness tips, event updates, and more. Forward these to your membership and ask them to forward the e-mails to everyone who matters to them. With your help this can become the largest earthquake drill in U.S. history!
©2018 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!