Get Earthquake Ready: Join the Annual Shakeout Drill on Oct. 21

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October 18, 2021

CHICAGO – The annual Great ShakeOut earthquake drill will take place Oct. 21 at 10:21 a.m. local time and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 5 office wants everyone to Drop, Cover and Hold On, while learning the important steps to stay safe during an earthquake. 

Scientists estimate there is a 25‐40% probability of a damaging earthquake occurring in the central U.S. within any 50-year window of time.

“Earthquakes are a risk every day of the year and can happen where you work, live or travel,” said Moises Dugan, acting regional administrator, FEMA Region 5.  “The Great Shakeout earthquake drill is our chance to practice together how to protect ourselves, so we can save lives and prevent disasters from becoming catastrophes.”

Prepare before an earthquake occurs by securing moveable items in your home such as furniture and other heavy objects, creating a disaster plan and deciding how you will communicate after the disaster, and having a kit of emergency supplies ready, in case it is needed.

Protect yourself when the earth shakes by taking these steps:

  1. Drop (or Lock): Wherever you are, drop down to your hands and knees and hold onto something sturdy. If you’re using a wheelchair or walker with a seat, make sure your wheels are locked and remain seated until the shaking stops.
  2. Cover your head and neck with your arms. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows). Crawl only if you can reach better cover without going through an area with more debris. Stay on your knees or bent over to protect vital organs.
  3. Hold on: If you are under a table or desk, hold on with one hand and be ready to move with it if it moves. If seated and unable to drop to the floor, bend forward, cover your head with your arms and hold on to your neck with both hands.

The Great ShakeOut earthquake drills are free and open to the public. To take part in the ShakeOut, register to participate at

The ShakeOut is nationally sponsored by the United States Geological Survey, FEMA, and the National Science Foundation and is supported by multiple partner organizations. For additional earthquake readiness information, visit

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