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Museums, Libraries, Parks, etc.

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 museums, science centers, and similar 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 in the Central U.S. ever!

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Which museums are


Kathleen Springer, SBCM

San Bernardino County Museum was a leader in museum involvement in the 2008 Southern California ShakeOut. Earthquake preparedness materials and ShakeOut information were distributed months in advance to museum visitors, and a major event was held on ShakeOut day with County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt and other leaders. In addition, Several County departments, the American Red Cross, and other organizations had displays for the 500 visitors who attended.



  • Register your museum or other free-choice learning venue to be counted in the ShakeOut Drill, to get email updates, and more.

Between now and October 18:

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

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

  • Plan your drill using one of the four levels of sample drills in the ShakeOut Drill Manual for Non Profits and Other Organizations (PDF).

  • 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.:

  • Conduct your drill. If you did not choose a drill from the ShakeOut Drill Manual for Non Profits and Other Organizations, then follow these simple steps:

    1. Drop, Cover, and Hold On: As your staff and visitors 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). Have everyone practice now so they will immediately protect themselves during earthquakes! (See this page for what to do if you are 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. If you have visitors in your museum on the day of the drill you should inform them about what will be happening so they can participate. If you have school groups visiting consider sending information about the ShakeOut to the group leaders before their visit.

    3. While still under the table, or wherever they are, have your staff look around and imagine what would happen in a major earthquake. What would fall on them or others? What would be damaged? What would life be like after? What will your museum do before the actual earthquake happens to reduce losses and quickly recover?

    4. (Optional) Practice what your staff and others 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

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

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

  • Do a facility inspection for non-structural items (bookshelves, equipment, etc.) that might fall and be damaged or cause injury and secure them.

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

  • Develop, review or exercise your business continuity plan with staff to identify and practice their responsibilities.
    • Create or review your staff contact lists and communication plan.
    • Locate utility shut off valves; make sure staff know the location, procedure and responsibilities.
    • Inventory special skills within your organization useful in a disaster (amateur radio operator, search and rescue, etc.)
    • Invite your local Fire Department to your next meeting to explain earthquake safety practices and demonstrate fire extinguisher use to employees.
    • 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 staff know the location and how to utilize supplies.

  • Be prepared for the possibility that your staff 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 visitors needed to remain in your facility for an extended length of time?

  • Identify any structural weaknesses in your building: ask a local earthquake retrofitting contractor for a structural inspection, and develop a plan to address any issues. If you rent your facility, ask the building owner about the state of the building. Consider whether earthquake insurance is right for you.

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


  • Invite your Board of Directors and staff to register as individuals to participate in the ShakeOut.

  • Display posters about ShakeOut in visitor areas and on staff bulletin boards. 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.

  • Hold a meeting among your staff 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 museum 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 museums and organizations to make the event a bigger success.

©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!