The Great Shake-Out

Get Ready to ShakeOut!

With 6.8 million people living and working in Washington, a major earthquake could cause unprecedented devastation. What we do now, before a big earthquake, will determine what our lives will be like afterwards. With earthquakes an inevitable part of Washington’s future, we must act quickly to ensure that disasters do not become catastrophes.

The Great Washington ShakeOut in October 2012 will involve hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians through a broad-based outreach program, media partnerships, and public advocacy by hundreds of partners. The drill will be held statewide annually on the third Thursday of October. The 2012 Great Washington ShakeOut earthquake drill will be at 10:18 a.m. on October 18.

A key aspect of the Great ShakeOut is the integration of comprehensive science-based earthquake research and the lessons learned from decades of social science research about why people get prepared. The result is a “teachable moment” on par with having an actual earthquake (often followed by increased interest in getting ready for earthquakes). The Great ShakeOut creates the sense of urgency that is needed for people, organizations, and communities to get prepared, to practice what to do to be safe, and to learn what plans need to be improved.

Not just any drill will accomplish this; it needs to be big. It must inspire communities to come together. It must involve children at school and parents at work, prompting conversations at home. It must allow every organization, city, etc., to make it their own event.

The 2012 Great ShakeOut drill will be the largest preparedness event in U.S. history. All organizers ask is that participants at the minimum practice “drop, cover, and hold on” at the specified time. It is only a five-minute commitment for something that can save your life. For more information, visit

Drop, Cover & Hold On!!

Why is “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” important to practice? You may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake before strong shaking knocks you down, or something falls on you. Practicing helps you be ready to react. Visit to learn more.


The University of Washington has registered as a state participant in this drill. However it is up each department to coordinate their own participation in this drill. Feel free to contact UW Emergency Management with questions or if your organization needs assistance.

Visit an Outreach Booth:

  • 10/02/12 11:00am - 2:00pm UW Tower Café
  • 10/04/12 11:00am - 2:00pm Health Sciences, Rotunda
  • 10/09/12 11:00am - 2:00pm Suzzallo Library Café
  • 10/10/12 11:00am - 2:00pm The IMA
  • 10/11/12 11:00am - 2:00pm South Lake Union
  • 10/16/12 11:00am - 2:00pm William Gate Law Café
  • 10/18/12 11:00am - 2:00pm The HUB
  • 11/01/12 11:00am - 2:00pm Fishery Sciences

Attend an Earthquake & Personal Preparedness Training

  • 10/02/12 11:30am - 12:30pm UW Tower, Auditorium
  • 10/04/12 10:00am - 11:00am Health Sciences, K069
  • 10/11/12 11:30am - 12:30pm South Lake Union, Auditorium
  • 10/16/12 11:30am - 12:30pm William Gates Law, Room 115
  • 11/01/12 11:30am - 12:30pm Fishery Sciences, Room 203

Plan Your Drill:

  1. Make the commitment in your department, school or home to have a “Drop, Cover and Hold On” drill at 10:18am on October 18.
  2. Download a Drill Broadcast Recording.
  3. Discuss what you learned and make improvements.

Get Prepared for Earthquakes:

  1. Do a “hazard hunt” for items that might fall during earthquakes and secure them.
  2. Create a personal disaster plan.
  3. Organize or refresh your emergency supply kits.
  4. Learn more about Earthquake Hazards