The Great California ShakeOut Earthquake Drill is Coming October 15th

"Earthquakes are a reality, but they don’t have to be devastating."

October 13, 2020

Photo: Morrison1977 / iStock / Getty Images Plus


The Great California ShakeOut drill is coming this Thursday at 10:15am!

This annual drill is a reminder that California is earthquake country, and that we should all be prepared for "the big one," by practicing "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" techniques. According to the California Earthquake Authority, there is 75 percent probability of one or more magnitude 7.0 or greater earthquakes striking Southern California, based on a 30-year period, beginning in 2014.

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The American Red Cross Los Angeles Region offers the following tips:

  • Try to protect your head and torso. If you are sitting at a desk or table, get under it. Otherwise drop wherever you are.
  • If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on. Protect your head with a pillow.
  • If you are inside, stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. When it is, use stairs rather than the elevator in case there are aftershocks, power outages or other damage.
  • If you are outside, find a clear spot (away from buildings, power lines, trees, streetlights) and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops.
  • If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible. Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Then, drive carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.

The Red Cross also offers the following guidance for developing an emergency plan, should a disaster strike:

  • Some emergency kit supplies may be hard to get due to the pandemic, and availability may worsen in a disaster, so start gathering supplies now.
  • Ask friends or relatives outside your area if you would be able to stay with them.
  • Check and see if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or have people in their home at higher risk for serious illness. If they do, make other arrangements.
  • Check with hotels, motels and campgrounds to see if they are open and if pets are allowed.
  • Due to the pandemic, stay current on advice and restrictions from your state and local public health authorities as it may affect your actions, available resources and shelter facilities.
  • Additional resources for preparing during the COVID-19 pandemic are available at

“Damaging earthquakes can strike at any time, and the Great California ShakeOut drill is an important reminder of what we need to do in order to survive and recover. Earthquakes are a reality, but they don’t have to be devastating; strengthen your home now and get prepared,” says California Earthquake Authority CEO Glenn Pomeroy in a press release. “With our health care system already stressed by COVID-19, we all need to take steps to keep ourselves safe when the ground shakes.”

The CEA also suggests learning how to better protect your home by strengthening it with a retrofit, so that it can better withstand a damaging earthquake. Millions of Californians live in older houses that need to be strengthened to make them more resistant to earthquake damage.