Back to articles

The Great Central Valley ShakeOut earthquake drill is October 15


CENTRAL VALLEY – Following FEMA’s National Preparedness Month in September, individuals and communities throughout the Central Valley will participate in the Great Central Valley ShakeOut earthquake drill.

Held annually on the third Thursday of October, the Great ShakeOut is set for Thursday, October 15, 2020. 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.
  • Cover your head and neck with one arm and hand.
    • 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.

The July 2019 M6.4 and M7.1 Ridgecrest earthquakes serve as reminders that large earthquakes can occur with little to no warning. The Central Valley region is home to several active seismic zones capable of producing damaging earthquakes, including the San Andreas fault system.

Adventist Health in the Central Valley, which includes four hospitals in Hanford, Reedley, Selma and Tulare as well as medical offices in 25 communities throughout the region, will participate in the Great ShakeOut drill on October 15.

“Damaging earthquakes can occur at any time wherever we work, live or travel within the region and beyond,” said Laurie Taggart, patient care executive of Adventist Health in the Central Valley. “Everyone, everywhere should know how to protect themselves from an earthquake.”

The Great 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 Great ShakeOut, individuals and organizations are asked to join the drill by registering online at Once registered, participants receive regular information on how to plan their drill and become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters.

More than 9.1 million people around the globe are expected to participate; in addition to safety drills, many participants take extra steps to become more prepared for earthquakes and other disasters. Updated numbers in California may be found online at