The Great Washington ShakeOut: What to Know About Thursday’s Seismic Drill


Over a million Washingtonians took part in “The Great ShakeOut,” the world’s largest earthquake and tsunami exercise.

SEATTLE – Are you ready if an earthquake hits Washington State?

On Thursday, more than a million Washingtonians took part in “The Great ShakeOut,” the world’s largest earthquake and tsunami exercise.

The annual seismic exercise took place at 10:21 a.m. PT on Thursday. State emergency officials encouraged the public to participate to remember what to do in the event of an earthquake: drop, cover, and hold on.

The exercise is widely practiced in schools, businesses, and government agencies. At least 1.3 million Washingtonians are registered to participate in the exercise, and more than 31.1 million participants are registered worldwide.

Washington was also scheduled to test its network of coastal tsunami sirens during The Great ShakeOut. At around 10:21 am, the tsunami sirens were to go off using the “wailing sound” of a tsunami warning.

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Westminster chimes used in the monthly tsunami siren tests will not be used. Emergency officials have asked the public not to call 911 if they hear the sound of wailing.

Authorities expected about 100 of 122 tsunami sirens across the state to be tested.

Organizers shared the following steps to help reduce the risk of injury when, not if, a major earthquake hits Washington:

  • PUBLICATION DATE where you are, on your hands and knees. This position protects you from rollovers and also allows you to stay low and crawl for shelter if you are nearby.
  • BLANKET your head and neck with one arm and one hand. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl under it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall away from windows. Stay on your knees; bending over to protect vital organs.
  • SOCKET TO until the shaking stops. If you are under shelter, hold it with one hand and be ready to move with your shelter if it does move. If you are not in the shelter, hold your head and neck with both arms and hands.

RELATED: Why You Need To Be Prepared: 3 Big PNW Earthquake Threats

While The Great ShakeOut only takes a minute, it’s a chance to remind you and your family of what else to think about in the event of a disaster.

Emergency officials said you should be aware of potential dangers where you live and work and sign up for earthquake alerts and warnings.

You should also have a plan in place.

Talk to your family about where to meet and how to communicate. Contacting and verifying family members can often be done by having an out-of-state friend or family member whom everyone knows to call.

You should also build disaster kits for your home. Each kit should contain enough supplies to keep you going for at least two weeks, and even longer in coastal communities.

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