CHS Blog

Great California Shakeout

Great California Shakeout
Posted on October 19, 2016 by CHS

On October 20th, 2016 at 10:20 a.m., millions of people around the world will participate in the “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” practice. As earthquakes can occur anytime and anywhere, it is crucial for everyone to know how to protect themselves and their loved ones during an earthquake.

What is the Great California Shakeout?

The Great California Shakeout is an earthquake preparedness drill that is hosted annually not just in California, but also in many states and countries around the world. Many of the participants include families, schools, businesses, and other organizations and groups.


The official rescue teams who have been dispatched to the scene of earthquakes have advocated the use of the internationally recognized “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” protocol to protect ourselves during earthquakes.

  • Drop to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!)
  • Take Cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table.
  • Hold on to it until shaking stops.

For more information on “Drop, Cover, and Hold On”, see: Drop, Cover, and Hold On

Here are some tips to help both you and your child to prepare for earthquakes.


  • Talk about earthquakes: Spend some time with your family to discuss earthquakes. Explain that an earthquake is a natural event and it is not anyone’s fault. Use simple words so that younger children will understand.
  • Find safe spots in your home: Show your child the safe spots around the home he can get to as soon as he feels an earthquake. Safe spots are places where you can take cover, such as under a sturdy desk or table, or next to an interior wall.
  • Practice earthquake drills: Even though your child will receive some earthquake drill practices at school, it is important to teach them at home. Practicing earthquake drills will help your child understand what to do in case you are not with him during an earthquake.

During an Earthquake

  • If outside, find an open spot: Find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, streetlights, powerlines, and anything that can fall on top of you. Drop to the ground and stay there till the shaking stops.
  • If in a vehicle, stop: Pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops.

For more tips on earthquake safety, see: 10 Tips Earthquake Safety

Earthquakes occur frequently in California which is why it is important for parents and children to know what to do in case of an earthquake. By following this safety protocol and the tips, you increase your chance of survival when an earthquake happens. For more information, see:

Additional Resources

Emergency Preparedness Tip Sheets from Head Start:

Teaching Children about Disaster Preparedness:

Disaster Planning for Child Care Providers:

Know Your Child Care Provider’s Disaster Plan – English:

Know Your Child Care Provider’s Disaster Plan – Spanish:

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