Virginians to participate in statewide earthquake drill

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Communities across the Commonwealth will prepare for the potential impacts of earthquakes through the ninth annual “Great ShakeOut” earthquake drill on Thursday at 10:19 a.m.

According to a press release from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), 1.7 million people in the southeast and are registered to participate.

“As we saw last month in Mexico City and, closer to home, in Louisa County in 2011, earthquakes strike with little to no warning. It’s important that all citizens have a plan and are prepared regardless of when an earthquake may strike—whether in the middle of the night or during the day while at school, work or home,” said Jeff Caldwell, External Affairs Director, (VDEM). “The Great ShakeOut drill provides schools, businesses and residents with the opportunity to develop an earthquake response plan, practice their response to an earthquake and have a conversation with coworkers, neighbors and family members about earthquake preparedness.”

During the self-led drill, participants practice how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.”  For most people, in most situations, the recommended earthquake safety action is to:

  • Drop where you are, onto your hands and knees;
  • Cover your head and neck with one arm and hand, as you crawl for shelter under a nearby table or desk;
  • Hold on to your shelter with one hand until shaking stops (remain on your knees and covering your head and neck with your other arm and hand).

Signing up for the drill is free and open-to-the-public. Participants include individuals, schools, businesses, local and state government agencies, and many other groups and organizations. To take part in the drill, individuals and organizations are asked to register to participate at Once registered, participants receive regular information on how to plan their drill and become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters.

The Great ShakeOut drill in Virginia is coordinated by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey, and dozens of other partners.


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