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ShakeOut Healthcare Organization Resources

Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills provide an annual opportunity for healthcare organizations and facilities to practice earthquake safety and other aspects of emergency planning along with millions of others across the United States and worldwide.

Healthcare organizations of all sizes can use the drill to get their staff, volunteers, partners, and even their patients/residents, involved and prepared for being safe during earthquakes, and ready to provide services afterwards. Furthermore, the level of your employee’s personal and family preparedness will be key to their availability to support your organization’s response and recovery efforts after a disaster.

To participate, first register in your state, territory, or region.

CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule

In 2016, new Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers were announced. Health care providers and suppliers affected by this rule must now comply and implement all regulations (see list of 17 provider and supplier types).

Your ShakeOut Drill can meet the training and plan testing requirements of the CMS Rule:

  • Training: Conduct and document initial and annual training on your emergency preparedness policies and procedures to all staff, participants, volunteers, and contractors;
  • Exercises:Must conduct and document two exercises annually:
    1. One must be a community-based CMS Defined Full-Scale Exercise;
    2. The other exercise can be a second Full-Scale or Tabletop Exercise.

As the term "full-scale exercise" may vary by sector, facilities are not required to conduct a full-scale exercise as defined by FEMA or DHS Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP). Full-scale exercise is defined by CMS as:

  • Any operations-based exercise (drill, functional, or full-scale exercise) that assesses a facility’s functional capabilities by simulating a response to an emergency that would impact the facility’s operations and their community;
  • A full-scale exercise is also an operations-based exercise that typically involves multiple agencies, jurisdictions, and disciplines performing functional or operational elements.

CMS Training and Testing FAQs (download the full set of FAQs from here)

Suggestions for having your Shakeout participation count as a CMS full-scale exercise:

  • Coordinate your ShakeOut Exercise with others in your community;
  • Physically evacuate your facility;
  • Activate your Emergency Plan and Incident Command Team at your facility;
  • Communicate with the other facilities about the possibility of moving clients/patients/residents to other facilities or accepting clients/patients/residents in your facility;
  • Evaluate your exercise based on your exercise objectives;
  • Document your exercise and what was noted as improvement items. i.e. After-Action Report.

Templates for managing, evaluating, and reporting about your exercise:

ShakeOut Earthquake Drills: Earthquake Planning During COVID Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Earthquake Country Alliance Healthcare Committee Webinars

2023: ShakeOut Webinar for Healthcare Organizations
This free webinar presented on September 13, 2023, shared guidance for how to incorporate individuals with access and functional needs within the planning and implementation of your healthcare organization's exercise as part of the 2023 ShakeOut, and within your overall emergency planning. Presenters included Nora O'Brien (CEO, Connect Consulting Services), Vance Taylor (Chief of OAFN, California Governor's Office of Emergency Services), and Mark Benthien (Global Coordinator, ShakeOut).

2022: Great ShakeOut Drills in Healthcare Settings
This webinar was presented on August 31, 2022 by Nora O'Brien (CEO, Connect Consulting Services) and Mark Benthien (Global Coordinator, ShakeOut):

2022: Accessibility Guidance in Healthcare Settings
This webinar was presented on August 16, 2022 by Mark Benthien (Global Coordinator, ShakeOut):

2021: Great ShakeOut After Action Reporting and Improvement Planning
This webinar was presented on August 24, 2021 by Nora O'Brien (CEO, Connect Consulting Services) and Mark Benthien (Global Coordinator, ShakeOut):

2021: How to Develop a Functional Earthquake Exercise
This webinar was presented on July 19, 2021 by Mary Massey, California Hospital Association and Steve Storbakken, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center:

2020: Shakeout Your CMS Emergency Preparedness Exercise Requirements
This webinar was presented on August 12, 2020 by Mark Benthien (Global Coordinator, ShakeOut) and Nora O'Brien (CEO, Connect Consulting Services):

Drill Planning Resources

ShakeOut Drill Manual for Healthcare Organizations
This manual provides three options for drills and exercises that healthcare organizations can organize. Each drill uses the general earthquake response of Drop, Cover, and Hold On ( as its foundation. Level 2 and Level 3 exercises may meet the guidelines of the CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule.

Hospital Incident Command System

Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) Guidance and Templates
This website includes the 7 Steps to a Disaster Resilient Workplace which provides a simple overview of what organizations can do to be prepared to survive and recover when disasters occur.

Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety
The Earthquake Country Alliance has worked with experts in earthquake science, preparedness, and mitigation to develop this step-by-step guide staying safe before, during, and after an earthquake. Share this with your employees to encourage preparedness at home.

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