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‘Great Shakeout’ drill returns to remind all: Be prepared for emergencies

Cascadia 2 weeks ready
Oregon Office of Emergency Management

SALEM Ore. (KTVZ) -- It’s easy to forget about earthquake safety amid a global pandemic and ongoing wildfire recovery; however, Oregon is still earthquake territory.

The Great Shakeout, an annual earthquake preparedness drill, takes place at 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15. This two-minute practice is an important safety drill that can be incorporated into homes, offices and virtual classrooms.

Oregon has many crustal faults that can cause earthquakes and substantial localized damage. In addition to the local faults, the off-shore Cascadia Subduction Zone extends from British Columbia, Canada to southern California. 

Cascadia can produce very large earthquakes and tsunami that will likely affect the entire West Coast. Residents can prepare for even these very large disasters by taking small actions over time. Practicing your safety actions makes you more prepared.

Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management works with local communities to share information on what to expect and how to be prepared before, during and after an earthquake.

This includes encouraging all Oregonians to participate in the Great Shakeout, a time when everyone can practice “drop, cover and hold on” – the number one safety action to take during any type of earthquake. 

“This year, with many working from home and students taking classes online, it’s a great opportunity to discuss earthquake safety and have an earthquake drill at home with your family,” said Andrew Phelps, OEM director.

Other earthquake safety tips include strapping down your home’s water heater and locating your home’s gas and water lines to shut them off quickly should it be necessary.

When meeting with your household, take a walk around your home to identify heavy objects that are on high shelves that could fall; relocate those items to lower shelves and make sure that heavy furniture items are braced for safety.

Also discuss the best place to meet should you become separated during the event and make a plan to communicate with loved ones. Identify the best place for your preparedness items and make sure everyone in the household knows where those items are located. 

“After a large-scale event, such as a Cascadia quake, it could take some time for formal response resources to be available,” said Phelps. “That’s why it’s crucial to make plans with your family and neighbors to be prepared for at least two weeks.”

For tips on how to be “Two-Weeks Ready,” visit our website at

Participants can register for the Great ShakeOut at

Videos are available to help households identify priorities for preparing for an earthquake:
Life Happens Fast – You can be prepared for unexpected emergencies
Life Happens Fast (Water)
Life Happens Fast (Food)
Life Happens Fast – Great ShakeOut


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