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More than 17.5 million people nationwide participating in “Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills” on October 19

Graphic showing earthquake safety guidance with drawings that show a figure drop to the ground, cover their head and neck or get until a table, and then hold on to the table; other images for people who use canes show to keep the cane with you. For people

Earthquake safety guidance including for people with disabilities.

Graphic with words "Join Us in the World's Largest Earthquake Drill", plus "October 19, 2023, and "Register:" along with the word ShakeOut shifted as if offset by an earthquake.

There is still time to register you 2023 ShakeOut drill at, to join the millions already registered!

Picture showing a man and woman beneath a table, kneeling and bending over while covering their head with one hand and holding on to a table leg with the other.

Adults practicing "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" beneath a table

Photo showing 6 children beneath their desks bent over and covering their heads while holding onto legs of the desk.

Children practicing Drop, Cover, and Hold On beneath their desks

From practicing “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” to learning how to “Secure Your Space,” people across the country and worldwide are improving earthquake resilience.

ShakeOut is a way to increase community resilience at all levels... if we have taken steps to prepare ourselves, those around us, and the structures we live, work, and study in.”
— Mark Benthien, Global ShakeOut Coordinator (USC)

LOS ANGELES, CA, UNITED STATES, October 16, 2023 / -- Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills, a worldwide earthquake safety movement that began in southern California in 2008, encourages people to practice how to protect themselves during earthquakes in order to reduce injuries and even loss of life. More than 53 million people worldwide are participating in earthquake drills in 2023, including 17.5 million people holding drills in all U.S. states and territories on International ShakeOut Day this Thursday, October 19. Many will hold their drills at 10:19am (local time).

There is still time to be included this year, even after October 19. Register to participate on any day that works for you or your organization at

The series of recent devastating earthquakes in Afghanistan, plus those in Turkey and elsewhere earlier this year, are somber reminders of the importance of building earthquake-resistant structures, developing effective response procedures and capabilities, and the value of practicing self-protective actions which is the primary purpose of Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills.

ShakeOut participants practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” and other recommended earthquake safety actions for a variety of situations– if you’re near a sturdy desk or table, in a stadium or theater, along the coast, driving a car, in bed, or if you have a mobility disability. Guidance for each situation is provided at Many also practice other aspects of their emergency plans.

“ShakeOut is a way to increase community resilience at all levels,” said Mark Benthien, Global ShakeOut Coordinator and Outreach Director for the Southern California Earthquake Center ( at the University of Southern California. “Earthquakes can be sudden and violent, but if we have taken steps to prepare ourselves, those around us, and the structures we live, work, and study in, we can greatly reduce their effects.”

Many participants follow the Earthquake Country Alliance’s Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety at, which starts with Step 1: Secure Your Space. This means fastening furniture, TVs, cabinet door, and other items, to reduce the chance of earthquake injuries and damages caused when these items or knocked over or thrown during earthquakes.

California is the state with the greatest earthquake risk according to a study published by FEMA in April 2023. It also is the state with the most ShakeOut participants with more than 10 million expected to be registered this year. Washington State has the second-highest participation level with more than 1.3 million people. Utah is next with nearly 1 million people involved (though their drills were in April as Utah schools are not in session on ShakeOut day). The fourth largest participating state is Virginia – a reminder that as with the 2011 Mineral, VA earthquake, earthquakes can happen on the east coast too. See participation levels for regions at

People in West Coast states (California, Oregon, and Washington) who have installed the MyShake app on their phone will receive a test alert at 10:19am on ShakeOut day. MyShake is one of several ways to receive the alert signal provided by the U.S. Geological Survey’s ShakeAlert® system ( Many cities, counties, school districts, and others are also testing their emergency communication alert systems. In addition, Washington State will conduct a test of their coastal tsunami sirens.

As part of their support for ShakeOut, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also set up an option to receive earthquake information via text messaging, including a reminder text at 10:19am local time (in Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific, and Alaska time zones). To opt-in, text “ShakeOut” to 43362.

A pre-ShakeOut national webinar was held on October 12, which can now be viewed at The webinar featured a tour of earthquake hazards across the country, earthquake safety guidance for various situations, an overview of the ShakeAlert® system for the West Coast, and a review of available ShakeOut resources to help drill organizers plan their activities and engage their participants.

These resources can be found at and and include drill manuals for schools, businesses, government agencies, non-profits and other sectors, posters and social media graphics, videos, and animations. Guidance for earthquake safety is also available in 16 languages at

Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills are coordinated by the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) at the University of Southern California, with funding from the National Science Foundation, United States Geological Survey, and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Mark Benthien
Southern California Earthquake Center (USC)
+1 213-740-0323
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ShakeOut Drill Narration for playing during earthquake drills (includes earthquake sound effects)