Skip to content

Federal Government

For federal agencies and offices, continuity of government and ability to fulfill emergency functions after a large earthquake will require not only that the workplace is prepared, but that employees are prepared at home so that they may return to their posts quickly. The purpose of the ShakeOut is to help people and organizations do both.

Scroll down for basic instructions for how tate 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!

Not in federal government?
Which government agencies
are participating?


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 your agency or office to be counted in the ShakeOut Drill, to get email updates, and more. Be sure to include the count of all your employees that will participate- ideally all your Central-U.S.-based employees.

Between now and October 18:

October 18, 2018, 10:18 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.


Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety graphic
  • For your employees in earthquake country, assist them and their families to get prepared. More information is available in the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety.

  • 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. Those living in desert areas may want to store water for even longer.
    • What other supplies might you need if transportation routes were blocked and employees, visitors, or others needed to remain in your facility for an extended length of time?

  • If your agency has facilities in California, do they use the 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.


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

  • Use your regular avenues of outreach to encourage all your stakeholders– employees, partners, customers, and visitors to register for and participate in the ShakeOut.

  • Use ShakeOut to prepare state 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) as a template for a resolution from your agency or office.

  • 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.
©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!