International ShakeOut Day – October 17, 2020

Sat Oct 17

Drop, Cover and Hold On! If nothing else, remember to take those three steps if and when an earthquake strikes. They’re crucial in order to prevent the chances of severe injury or even death. International ShakeOut Day on October 17 reminds us of the importance of taking immediate action. This day, which falls on the third Thursday in October, remains our best opportunity to learn (and practice) how to protect ourselves. Earthquakes can happen anytime. Remember, even if you’ve experienced them before, a false sense of security can prove fatal.


International ShakeOut Day timeline


Monster ​earthquake

​An earthquake recorded underneath the Indian Ocean created enough energy to power all homes and business in the U.S. for three days and caused a series of tsunamis.


​Going beyond earthly expectations

​One of the largest earthquakes recorded, a magnitude 9.5 in Chile, shook the entire earth for several days.

​132 AD

Measuring seismic waves

​Geographer Zhang Heng is regarded as the first inventor to create a seismoscope. The scope resembled a wine jar with dragon sculptures jutting out on all sides. Each of the dragons held a metallic marble in their mouth, and depending on where an earthquake hit, these marbles would fall out and determine the direction of the surrounding tectonic plates.

How to Observe International ShakeOut Day

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 Reasons Earthquakes Leave Us Rattled

  1. They can occur anywhere

    ​Currently, there are twenty tectonic plates covering the earth; however, scientists predict some plates may break into smaller sections.

  2. ​Living in the danger zone

    Records show most deaths do not occur from the direct impact of an earthquake, but instead from collapsing buildings, and surrounding manmade structures.

  3. Meeting in the middle

    ​Parkfield, California's referred to as the earthquake capital of the world because of its location along the San Andreas Fault.

  4. Catching the untraceable

    ​Scientists are able to determine the exact point on the earth’s surface where an earthquake originated by tracking the different speeds of traveling seismic waves.

  5. The Great Shaky North

    ​Alaska is one for the most seismically active regions in the world — experiencing magnitude 7.0 earthquakes nearly every year.

Why International ShakeOut Day is Important

  1. It helps us learn what to do — 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.