Skip to content

ShakeOut College and University Guidelines and Resources

NEW! Powerpoints for leading ShakeOut Drills (Online or In-Person)

For Grades K-4, Grades 5-12, Higher Education, and all other Organizations

ShakeOut is an opportunity for your campus community to learn and practice what to do during earthquakes (“Drop, Cover, and Hold On” and other recommended protective actions), and to learn about your overall preparedness plans.  Millions of people worldwide participate year by registerging at, including many from colleges or universities. Participation can take less than 10 minutes.

You may wonder "we don't have earthquakes in my area, so why should we participate?" ShakeOut's motto is that everyone, everywhere should know how to protect themselves during earthquakes– at home, at work, at school, or while traveling where earthquakes occur.

If your school is in an area where earthquakes are rare, consider how often your students and staff may visit earthquake regions for conferences, sports, research, or vacation. Also, others may one day move to earthquake-prone areas. By participating in ShakeOut you can make sure they will be ready to react appropriately.

This page provides guidance for how to register, promote, and hold your ShakeOut drill:


  • Administrators: Register your school to participate in your region's ShakeOut drill.

    Because students and staff aren't always on campus each day, all that is required to register your entire campus population is:

    • Use e-mail, social media, or your campus alert system to notify faculty, staff, and students about the ShakeOut Drill and that your school will be participating, using the messaging documents below and also at
    • Invite everyone to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” (and other recommended protective actions) during class or wherever they are at 10:17 a.m. on 10/17 (or whatever day/time your school is holding its ShakeOut drill). Instructor guides and a brief powerpoint presentation for leading in-class 10 minutes drills (including discussion) are linked below.
    • Encourage everyone to improve their preparedness for all emergencies. A guide for student earthquake preparedness is linked below.
    • Include your schools' emergency information in your email.
  • Faculty and Instructors: If your school will not be registering as a whole, you can register your department or class to participate in your region's ShakeOut drill, and use the resources provided below. Even if your school is registered, you can also register in order to receive information directly from ShakeOut organizers, and be listed separately as a registrant (though not double counted).

Between now and October 17 (or your ShakeOut day):

October 17, 10:17 a.m. (or whenever you schedule your drill):

  1. Drop, Cover, and Hold On:    Have your faculty, staff, and students 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 your staff and students will know immediately how to protect themselves during earthquakes! (See this page for what to do if outside, driving, in a tall building, or other situations.) For people with disabilities or access and functional needs, visit

  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 afterwards? What will you do before the actual earthquake happens to reduce losses and quickly recover?

  3. (Optional) Practice what your school 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. The Instructor Guide and Presentation (see above) have suggested questions. You can also distribute the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety for College Students.

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