Skip to content

ShakeOut FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for wanting to know more about ShakeOut! Below are common questions ShakeOut organizers receive. Please sort through the list and if you still need help, contact us.

ShakeOut Basics ↓ (click to expand)

ShakeOut Profile Issues ↓ (click to expand)

Outreach and Media ↓ (click to expand)

Other ↓ (click to expand)

What and when is ShakeOut? How do I / we participate?

    At a minimum, ShakeOut is a one-minute earthquake drill - you decide when, how, and where you want do it, and with whom.

    International ShakeOut Day is every third Thursday of October, when most schedule their ShakeOut drills and other earthquake preparedness activities. This annual date was selected back in 2009, when most schools agreed this was the best time. In 2023, International ShakeOut Day is October 19. Everyone, everywhere should know how to protect themselves during an earthquake! Thus, anyone can participate - ShakeOut is for everyone.

Future International ShakeOut Days
2022: 10/20 2023: 10/19 2024: 10/17 2025: 10/16

    You or your organization, however, may hold your ShakeOut drill on another day of the year that you find most convenient. This means that wherever you are at the date and time you designate—at home, at work, at school, anywhere—at the very least you should practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On as if there were a major earthquake occurring at that very moment, and stay in this position for one minute (or more, as you see fit).

    You can always do much more for your ShakeOut, such as a response or tabletop exercise, communications test, or activity in which you secure items that could fall or fly in a real earthquake. Learn more:

    The main goal of the ShakeOut is to get the world prepared for earthquakes, so use the ShakeOut as an opportunity to learn what to do before, during, and after an earthquake.

    Everyone, everywhere should participate, from an individual in their home (or even car!) to a school and even a major corporate office. Talk to your friends, family, and co-workers about the ShakeOut and encourage their participation.

    Register for free at to be counted and listed in your community, get email updates, and have the peace of mind knowing you can deal with any earthquake in our future.

How do I protect myself in an earthquake? I have heard about Drop, Cover, and Hold On, but what happened to the "Doorframe" or "Triangle of Life" theory? Why shouldn't I run outside?

    The safest thing to do during an earthquake is "Drop, Cover, and Hold On," as described at This special report describes how the "Triangle of Life" is promoted with greatly exaggerated or wrong information, and is potentially very dangerous. Running outside or getting into a doorway is not recommended as objects that are falling and flying can injure you , even cause you to trip and fall, as you move and are upright.

Do you have audio or video to help guide our ShakeOut drill?

How do I register for ShakeOut? Why should I?

    Register for free at to be counted and listed in your community, get email updates, and have the peace of mind knowing you can deal with any earthquake in our future.

ShakeOut Profile Issues

I made a mistake on the registration form. How can I correct it?

    Please log in to your ShakeOut profile to update any incorrect or new information, where you can also update your contact information, such as name, email, phone, username, and password, by clicking the dark orange "Update Your Registration" button. If you have not renewed for this year, you will have to renew by clicking the dark orange “Renew Your Registration…” button and update such information through the form.

Where do I get a certificate of participation?

    You are eligible for a certificate for each corresponding year you registered. Just log in to your profile where you will find options for retrieving past years’ certificates, if you have registered in previous years’ ShakeOuts. Look underneath the dark orange rectangular “Update” or “Renew” button on your profile dashboard to see corresponding certificates.

    Furthermore, the orange rectangular button may say “Renew” or “Update” depending on your registration status. If it says “Renew:” be sure to renew your ShakeOut registration too so eventually they populate too. Regardless of your current registration status, if you registered for previous years those certificates will still show.

How do I register multiple locations?

    For registering a few locations, please go to to make your first registration. Then head back and make a new registration with your same email address. The system may prompt that you have used this email address before, click to proceed with making a new registration with your same email address. Of-course, you can use different email addresses if you wish too.

    If you have many locations (3 or more), please contact us for special assistance; provide your full contact information.

I am the new contact for my organization, how do I get a hold of our account?

    Please contact us for special assistance; provide your full contact information.

How do I reset my password? / I forgot my password.

Outreach and Media

I’m a member of the media, how do I request an interview or other resources?

    Review for contact information, including potential story angles and example stories.

Could someone come to speak at my organization?

I want to help promote ShakeOut. How can I can help?

    For posters, flyers, web banners, and other promotional items you can print or use, visit For more in-depth resources such as videos and graphics, and copy for newsletters, releases, advisories, and social media, visit

How do I register people who are attending my outreach event?

    The best approach is to use a tablet or phone and ask people for their information or let them enter it themselves.

    You can also download and print our basic registration form (in English or Spanish) to have people complete, then scan the form (or take a picture) and email to

I want to reprint information found on the ShakeOut website. May I do this?

    Yes, you may. However, we do ask that you send us what you’re interested in reprinting if you are interested in republishing information to a large audience, so that we can make sure that nothing is taken out of context or misrepresented. Email your request to


ShakeOut is a drill, right? Or is an earthquake actually going to happen on October 19?

    The ShakeOut is a DRILL planned, in most areas, for October 19, 2023 (and the third Thursday of October each year). We are not predicting an earthquake to occur, though because many areas of the world are seismically active region it's not impossible.

Can earthquakes be predicted?

    No, earthquakes cannot be predicted. While we all wish this were possible, we can at least rest assured in knowing how to protect ourselves during shaking (Drop, Cover, and Hold On). Scientists can, however, attempt to forecast earthquakes:, which means to provide probabilities of their occurrence (but not certainties), based on scientific knowledge.

    For your safety, peace, and calm, and that of others, please be careful of what you see or hear about this topic in social circles, online and offline. Unfortunately, too many have tried to claim they can predict earthquakes for various reasons that are ultimately not in the interest of public safety or scientific integrity.

    Prediction means 100% certainty in date and time, location, magnitude. When a person or organization that claims they can predict earthquakes they may keep any number of these prediction components rather vague to allow generous room for error (e.g. "major earthquake to strike Southern California this year”). They may also try to assure and state that they are sure or certain this time (and never acknowledge they were wrong many times in the past). Other times, they may pretend to have a certain degree of scientific, religious, spiritual, or logical superiority, or make other false statements. Also beware that another tactic to make you believe in them is that after an earthquake actually occurs, they will say they predicted it. However, there is never a record of them actually predicting it (though they may provide one from their own archives that no one has never seen before).

    Learn more about why earthquakes cannot be predicted with the U.S. Geological Survey:

How can I teach my kids to prepare?

    Teach your kids to Drop, Cover, and Hold On. You can also play the ‘Earthquake Game’ where when anyone says “earthquake!” everyone has to pretend an earthquake is happening and practice their response. Teach your children that they should go under a table and hold on if one is near. If they are in a room without a table, crouch against an interior wall, away from windows. Find an “earthquake-safe” location in every room of the house so they don’t try to run during an earthquake. Learn how to protect yourself in a variety of situations.

I haven’t received anything about the ShakeOut. Am I registered?

    Unfortunately you may not have received information because your email software may consider the ShakeOut emails to be "spam" and block your receiving them. The emails may be in your "junk" folder. Look for emails from We generally send email newsletters on a monthly basis from the spring through the fall, but you may receive other emails anytime throughout the year about your ShakeOut registration status or other special news as appropriate.

Will you be utilizing ham radio? At what frequency will you be broadcasting?

    Local ham radio operators may already be participating near you! We do not set rules or requirements for such groups. So if you are in the ham radio community, the real question is, what will YOU be doing? What can you organize for your community? We ask that everyone interested in participating in the ShakeOut use every tool available to them to get the word out about earthquake safety and to take the steps they would take during an earthquake as a part of the drill.


Having trouble finding something? Here are a few of our frequently asked questions. Can't find it here? Contact us.

International ShakeOut Day is every third Thursday of October, when most schedule their ShakeOut drills and other earthquake preparedness activities.

In 2023, that day is October 19.

© 2024 Statewide California Earthquake Center (SCEC), headquartered at the University of Southern California (USC)
Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills