On October 15 International Shakeout day is observed with the mission to educate the public about the importance of taking immediate action in case of an earthquake. This day, which falls on the third Thursday in October, remains our best opportunity to learn (and practice) how to protect ourselves and put our loved ones out of harm’s way. If you live in an earthquake prone area, then you know how scary it can be when a tremor comes out of nowhere. Let us illustrate for you the importance of this day.
History of International ShakeOut Day
The first ever shakeout drill took place in California on November 13, 2008, then known as The Great Southern California ShakeOut, in efforts to educate the highly-seismic state in earthquake safety. More than five million people took part in the drill, with more joining the cause internationally in earthquake prone countries. In 2016, more than 55 million people across the United States and in more than 60 other countries participated in Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills.
The ShakeOut organization usually promotes one of the most important techniques to protect yourself and your loved ones from any strong seismic event, which is called “Drop, Cover and Hold On.” Medical and emergency organizations all across the United States agree that “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” is the appropriate action to reduce injury and death during earthquakes.
The method involves dropping to the ground, covering your head or body, preferably by getting under a table, and holding onto furniture. In cases where an earthquake is less violent, you might be able to move away from risky areas, for example, breaking windows or falling hubris. Given the dynamics of earthquakes and their effects on structures, “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” is the single most useful instruction that you can follow to protect yourself in the majority of situations. Running outside or getting into a doorway is not recommended, as falls and damage from falling debris are common in earthquakes.
The annual date of the International ShakeOut Day is on the third Thursday of every month and was selected in 2009. Depending of the location, ShakeOut drills could be held on other days at convenience, and at least ask you to practice the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” drill.
International ShakeOut Day timeline
The American Record
The strongest earthquake recorded in the USA hits Alaska at a magnitude of 9.2.
- May 22, 1960
The Strongest of All
The largest earthquake ever recorded hits Valdivia, Chile at a strength of 9.5 on the Richter Scale.
The Deadliest in History
830,000 people lost their lives due to an earthquake in Shaanxi, China
- 132 AD
Geographer Zhang Heng is regarded as the first inventor to create a seismoscope
International ShakeOut Day FAQs
What time is the Great ShakeOut?
Millions of people participate in the Great ShakeOut by dropping, covering, and holding on at 10:15 a.m. on October 15.
What time is the Great ShakeOut 2019?
In 2019, the Great ShakeOut began drills around the world at 10:17 a.m.
Who participates in the Great ShakeOut?
Over one million participants and groups are registered to participate in the 2020 Great ShakeOut all over the world.
How to Observe International ShakeOut Day
Take part in the drills
Millions learn how to take cover during an emergency. These drills are held every year on October 19 at 10:19 am.
Practice earthquake preparedness
You can learn about where the closest shelters and food clinics are located, or if there are new protocols for your region. It is super important to know the latest version of safety procedures so you're not caught unprepared.
Stock your safety kit
Pack a safety kit if you don’t have one prepared already. Most standard packs include a pair of clothes for each family member, a tool kit, canned goods, important documents, and electronic power chargers. There will be items in your pack specific to where you live.
5 Facts About Earthquakes
They are Shallow Events
Most earthquakes occur at depths of less than 50 miles from the surface of the Earth
The Ring of Fire is the most active.
Almost 80 percent of all the planet's earthquakes occur near countries that border the Pacific Ocean, commonly known as the Ring of Fire
There are 500,000 earthquakes every year
About 100 are strong enough to cause notable damage.
The moon has earthquakes too
“Moonquakes” are usually weaker than the ones we know on Earth.
The sun and moon can create tremors
They can create tides in the planet's crust that can cause tremors deep underground.
Why International ShakeOut Day is Important
It helps us learn what and what not to do.
The key to preventing chaos in times of emergencies is to ask if you and your family are prepared. It is possible to be distracted by daily living and never be ready for a quake. Preparations include aftermath drills, such as first aid and first response.
It’s a great introduction to children about an earthquake's impact
By observing this holiday, you can start introducing the topic of natural disasters to children. While they are being prepared at schools, they can also learn how to react in these situations if alone at home or with siblings.
It helps us remember those who endured natural disasters
Recognizing the importance of International ShakeOut Day gives us a reason to reach out to those experiencing natural disasters currently, and those who have endured them in the past. On this day we reflect on what our priorities are, and how we want to be prepared in the future.
International ShakeOut Day dates