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FEMA Urges National Participation in Great Shakeout on October 18

Release date: 
October 16, 2012
Release Number: 

WASHINGTON – In less than two days, more than 13 million people nationwide are expected to participate in the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill.

"Earthquakes occur all year long across our country – in a lot of places you wouldn’t expect," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "For the Great ShakeOut, we’re asking everyone to take just a minute out of your day to drop, cover and hold on, and practice what you would do during an actual earthquake."

Plan now to take part in the drill on Thursday, October 18 at 10:18 a.m., your local time. When an earthquake happens, you only have seconds to react. The best protective action is to "Drop, Cover and Hold On."

  • DROP to the ground;
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table; and
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

If it's not possible to get to the floor to safely take cover, before the exercise, identify an inside corner of the room near your work station or the other locations you may be in, away from windows and objects that could fall on you.  The Earthquake Country Alliance advises getting as low as possible to the floor. People who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices should lock their wheels and remain seated until the shaking stops. Protect your head and neck with your arms, a pillow, a book, or whatever is available.

This year marks the first time that southeastern states and jurisdictions will participate in a regional Great Shakeout, just weeks after the one year anniversary of the 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Mineral, Virginia. Participating states nationwide include: Alaska, Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington.

ShakeOut participants are supported by the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC), FEMA and many other local, state, federal and volunteer partners. SCEC has coordinated ShakeOut drills worldwide since the first ShakeOut in 2008.  In addition to the Southeast ShakeOut, CUSEC coordinates a similar drill each year across nine Central U.S. states.

To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, including information for seniors and those with disabilities, visit //

Earthquakes strike suddenly, without warning, and can have disastrous and far-reaching effects.  Earthquake hazards vary from region to region.  To learn more about reducing your risks during an earthquake visit /quakesmart

There are many ways for individuals, households, businesses, schools, faith-based organizations, community groups, and others to participate in the ShakeOut.  Those interested in participating in the ShakeOut are encouraged to first register online at .  Once registered, participants will be listed with thousands of other participants, and receive information on how to participate in the drill. 

For details on U.S. earthquake information by state and territory, visit //

Follow FEMA online at //,,, and  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at .

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:11