Prepare for earthquakes with annual Great ShakeOut

In the wake of Federal Emergency Management Agency’s “National Preparedness Month” in September, individuals and communities throughout Clallam County are being asked to participate in the Great Clallam County ShakeOut earthquake drill this month.

Held annually on the third Thursday of October, the Great Clallam County ShakeOut — part of the International ShakeOut Day — is set for Thursday, Oct. 21. During the self-led drill, participants practice how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.”

Endorsed by emergency officials and first responders, the safe response to an earthquake is to:

Drop where you are, onto your hands and knees. “This position protects you from being knocked down and also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby,” ShakeOut organizers say.

Cover your head and neck with one arm and hand and …

• 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)

• Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs

Hold on until shaking stops

• Under shelter: hold on to it with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts

• No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands

In conjunction with the Great Clallam County ShakeOut, the county-wide tsunami sirens will be tested using the actual tsunami warning wail sound.

“The more we can do to practice and prepare now, the better we can respond and recover during a real event,” said Justine Chorley, Clallam County Emergency Management Coordinator, in a press release this week.

The ShakeOut is free and open-to-the-public, and participants include individuals, schools, businesses, local and state government agencies, and many other groups. To take part in the ShakeOut, individuals and organizations are asked to join the drill by registering to participate at

Once registered, participants receive regular information on how to plan their drill and become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters.

To date, nearly one million people are registered to participate in this event throughout Washington state, organizers said. However, Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills will also occur throughout the nation and in several countries worldwide. More than 35 million people around the globe are expected to participate; and in addition to safety drills, many participants take extra steps to become better prepared for earthquakes or other disasters.

The sixth Great Clallam County ShakeOut is coordinated by Washington State, Clallam County, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Geological Survey and dozens of other partners. ShakeOut is coordinated globally by the Southern California Earthquake Center at the University of Southern California.