Annual Great Washington ShakeOut earthquake drill set for Oct. 15

The annual Great Washington ShakeOut — a statewide earthquake preparedness drill — will still be happening at 10:15 a.m. on Oct. 15, although it’s likely going to look a little different this year.

Due to COVID-19, work environments continue to adapt and change. Some schools and colleges are still operating completely online. However, despite COVID-related challenges: “We all still need to practice drop, cover and hold on because an earthquake can strike without warning,” said the Washington Military Department, which coordinates the statewide shakeout.

On the Washington coast, tsunami sirens will also sound off at 10:15 a.m. on Oct. 15, which is part of the drill. There will also be messages in English, as well as Spanish and Russian in some areas. Please don’t call 911. NOAA Weather Radios will also sound an alarm.

Gov. Jay Inslee has issued a proclamation, encouraging participation in the drill. Millions of people around the world will be practicing their earthquake protection skills.

The department has also launched a new Prepare in a Year guide, which you can use to take one step a month for the next year to get prepared. Did you run out of toilet paper in March? The guide has tips to help to re-prepare so you make sure you’re two weeks ready for any emergency.

While some ShakeOut drills and other activities may happen as always, there are some new considerations:

  • Where will you all be for your drill? Together, or some at work, school or home? Consider video conferencing.
  • How will you incorporate COVID-19 health and safety guidelines into your activity?
  • Is it better to have everyone participate all at once, or perhaps in staggered (or even repeated) dates and times?

Registration for the ShakeOut isn’t required, but helps the department keep a count on who is participating. You can register at


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