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How Neighborhood Groups 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 neighborhood groups 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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Responders checking OK signs in Vallecity Mobile Home Park

For the 2008 ShakeOut, over 98% of the senior residents of the Vallecity Mobile Home Park took cover for 3 minutes and then placed OK signs in their windows for volunteer responders to check. Several residents pretended to be injured, and the responders followed procedures in place for such emergencies. The residents participate in a similar drill every six months!



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

Between now and October 18:

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

  • Talk to other neighborhood groups 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: Have your members  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 in bed, 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 you will do after the shaking stops.

  4. 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.

  • Help individuals and families in your neighborhood 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.

  • Invite the Fire Department to your next meeting to explain earthquake safety practices for your neighborhood.

  • Host a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training in your neighborhood.

  • Create and practice a neighborhood earthquake plan.

  • 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.

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


  • 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.

  • Organize a ShakeOut Block Party. Invite neighbors for coffee and share personal and family preparedness information and discuss what individuals and their families can do to ShakeOut. You can also exchange phone numbers, and create an of inventory special skills (search and rescue, first aid, equipment) and needs (elderly, children, pets, medication, etc.) in your community. 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!