Skip to content

How Boy Scouts 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 boy scouts 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 a scouting group?
Which scouting groups
are participating?



  • Register your council/district or unit today to be counted in the ShakeOut Drill, get email updates, and more..

Between now and October 19:

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

  • Talk to other units in the district or the council office about what they have done, and encourage them to join you in getting more prepared. Contact Eagle ScoutParents – "Be Prepared" Emergency Survival Preparedness program for help. (email and put ShakeOut in your subject line).

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

October 19, 2017, 10:19 a.m.:

  1. Drop, Cover, and Hold On: Have your scouts  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). 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. While still under the table, or wherever you are, 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 you and your unit do before the actual earthquake happens to reduce losses and quickly recover?

  3. (Optional) Your unit/council/district can practice what your fellow Scouts 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.

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

  • Inspect your troop or den meeting place for non-structural items (bookshelves, equipment, etc.) that might fall and be damaged or cause injury and secure them.

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

  • Develop, review or exercise your family continuity plan to identify and practice their responsibilities.
    • Create or review your family contact lists and communication plan.
    • Locate utility shut off valves; make sure you know the location and procedure for shut off.
    • Inventory special skills within your unit that are useful in a disaster (amateur radio operator, search and rescue, etc.)
    • Invite your local Fire Department or Emergency Preparedness Venturing Crew to explain earthquake safety practices and demonstrate fire extinguisher use.

  • Organize or refresh your emergency equipment - fire extinguishers, first aid, flashlights, food, crank radios, satellite phones, generator, fuel; make sure your unit knows the location and how to utilize supplies. Set up an emergency kit to bring on any and all patrol/troop or den/pack events.

  • Prepare every scout and adult leader their own emergency kits, starting with at least the "ten essentials."

  • Ask Eagle candidates to create Eagle Projects that involve equipping communities with earthquake precautions. This may take the form of securing dangerous objects that may fall in surrounding businesses and organizations, or educating schools about earthquake preparedness and the ShakeOut.

  • Be prepared for the possibility that your unit 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 customers needed to remain in your meeting place or school for an extended length of time?

  • Promote advancement requirements that relate to first aid and emergency preparedness to your unit. Designate meetings where scouts focus on first aid and triage. Simulating disaster scenarios, specifically earthquake scenarios, is a very effective method in training your scouts.

  • Set goals regarding earthquake preparedness with these recommendations and hold troop and den meetings designated towards preparing your scouts, scout families, and community in earthquake preparedness.

  • Advancement through rank requires first aid training. Badges from Readyman through FIRST AID and EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS merit badges will have many of these skills attached to them. Your involvement will also help you meet requirements for the EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS National BSA pin.

  • Inspire the "Be Prepared" attitude.


  • Invite your Board of Directors, District/Council Executives and staff members to register as individuals to participate in the ShakeOut.

  • Ask local businesses and organizations to display posters about ShakeOut in their customer areas and on their employee bulletin boards, as well as to put ShakeOut flyers at your their public counters. You might also ask them to include an article in their newsletter and add a link to on their website.

  • Tell everyone to watch "Preparedness Now", a compelling film that depicts what will happen in a "big one," and other videos.

  • If you have a crew, troop, pack or post website, add a link to on your website; use one of several ShakeOut web banners.

  • Hold a meeting with your unit 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 unit 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 organizations to make the event a bigger success. You may even promote the ShakeOut at your troop's Camporee, Scout-O-Rama, Merit Badge Midways, Exploring Musters and any other function that involves other troops and dens.

  • Eagle ScoutParents – "Be Prepared" Emergency Survival Preparedness program will be happy to help.

©2017 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!