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Great ShakeOut celebrates 10th anniversary in Washington

Great ShakeOut celebrates 10th anniversary in Washington

For the 10th year in a row, hundreds of thousands of people in Washington state will participate in the world’s largest earthquake and tsunami drill: The Great ShakeOut.

At 10:21 a.m. on Oct. 21, you’re invited to drop, cover and hold on wherever you are – whether it’s at work, home or school. At about the same time, Washington’s network of coastal tsunami sirens will be tested using the wailing sound of a tsunami warning, not the Westminster Chimes that are used during the monthly tests. PLEASE DO NOT CALL 911. NOAA Weather Radios will also sound an alarm.

The state has 122 tsunami sirens -- and many of those are brand new. That means the sound could come from new directions. We're expecting about 100 of the sirens to be tested. The other sirens are still waiting for power and infrastructure and we hope to have them done soon, although it's unlikely to be done before the test. 

More than 1 million Washington residents have registered to participate in the earthquake and tsunami drill. Registration isn’t required but it helps us with understanding how effective our outreach is. It’s also free and easy to register at

If you’re continuing to work from home, take this opportunity to examine your environment for hazards and talk to family about where everyone would gather if your home was damaged and you were separated. If you’re at a workplace or have kids in school, ask about what plans are in place for when an earthquake happens.

During the event, use #ShakeOut on social media to join many others across the country posting pictures of themselves under desks or using proper earthquake protection techniques. You can also tag our Twitter account at @waShakeOut.

We also encourage residents to “do one more thing” to get prepared. Download the free Prepare in a Year guide to find little steps to take each month to get prepared at

If you’re on the coast, consider walking your evacuation route – or at least figure out where you would need to go to evacuate. You can find maps and how the sirens work at

If you hear the siren wailing sound any other time than on Oct. 21, immediately follow the closest tsunami evacuation route inland or to high ground. This is your warning that a tsunami is approaching and you need to evacuate the inundation zone as soon as possible. If you are on the coast and you feel the ground shaking, drop, cover and hold on to protect yourself. When the shaking stops, immediately follow the closest tsunami evacuation route inland or to high ground. Do not wait to hear a tsunami siren or to receive an official tsunami alert – the shaking is your warning that a tsunami may be on its way.


At noon on Oct. 21, the Washington Emergency Management Division will field your earthquake-related questions on our Facebook page. If you have a question you want us to talk about and can’t make it, feel free to email us at or use this form.


Register at to practice and improve your level of earthquake and tsunami safety. Everyone everywhere can participate! Individuals, families, businesses, schools, government agencies, and organizations are all invited to join in at 10:21 am on 10/21.