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How K-12 Schools and Districts Can Participate

Schools have many key roles during disasters, and when they are well prepared all Utahns benefit. Also, by holding their earthquake drills on the same day, they inspire the participation of many other Utahns. In 2009, nearly 5 million students and staff participated in California!

Scroll down for basic instructions for how schools 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 Utah ever!

Other ways to participate:
Which K-12 schools and districts
are participating?


Escondido Christian School

Most of the children at Escondido Christian School in California were at the normally scheduled recess. When they heard the sound of the "Earthquake" played on their PA, they all moved away from buildings, and dropped to the ground. When the shaking stopped everyone evacuated, just as they have practiced during regular fire drills. Every class was checked and everyone was accounted for.



  • Register your school or district to be counted in the ShakeOut Drill, get email updates, and more.

Between now and April 21:

  • Meet with your School Safety Committee to plan your drill. Plan to include everyone on campus in the drill. (See this page for what those with a disability or an activity limitation can do.)

  • Plan your drill using one of the four levels of sample drills in the ShakeOut Drill Manual for Schools (PDF).

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

April 21, 10:15 a.m.:

  • Conduct your drill. If you did not choose a drill from the ShakeOut Drill Manual for Schools, then follow these simple steps:
    1. Drop, Cover, and Hold On:    Have your children, staff, and others present at the time 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 they will immediately 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, download our preparedness guide (661 KB) PDF.

    2. While still under the table, or wherever they are, have them 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 your organization do before the actual earthquake happens to reduce losses and quickly recover?

    3. (Optional) Practice what your staff will do after the shaking stops.

  • After your drill is complete, have discussions about what was learned and incorporate these lessons into your disaster plan.


There are many things schools and districts can do to evaluate and increase their earthquake preparedness before the ShakeOut.

Start by downloading a self-survey for your planning purposes to check your current level of preparedness and get ideas on how to better prepare your school or district for Utah’s next big quake.

  • Encourage your staff and families to get prepared. More information is in the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety.

  • Do a facility inspection for non-structural items (bookshelves, equipment, etc.) that might fall and be damaged or cause injury and secure them.

  • Organize or refresh your emergency equipment - fire extinguishers, first aid, flashlights, food, crank radios, satellite phones, generator, fuel; make sure staff know the location and how to utilize supplies.

  • Be prepared for the possibility that your employees and possibly even children may need to remain 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 students needed to remain in your facility for an extended length of time?
  • Identify any structural weaknesses in your building: ask a local earthquake retrofitting contractor for a structural inspection, and develop a plan to address any issues. If you rent your facility, ask the building owner about the state of the building.


  • Invite your students' parents to register their families to participate in the ShakeOut. Use Parent/PTA meetings to spread the word.

  • Display posters about ShakeOut in classrooms and offices on bulletin boards. Put ShakeOut flyers at your public counters. Include a flyer in paycheck envelopes, or an article in your school newsletter.

  • Hold a meeting among your parents and staff 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.

  • Design and host preparedness events to encourage your school community to join the ShakeOut and prepare for disasters. Create alliances with other organizations to make the event a bigger success.
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