Register Now for Southeast ShakeOut Earthquake Drill

Posted at 10:45 a.m.

At 10:20 a.m. next Thursday, Oct. 20, the Great Southeast ShakeOut earthquake drill will be held. The annual drill is the time for us to practice our drop, cover and hold on skills in case we were to encounter an actual earthquake.

Over 1.2 million Virginia residents registered to participate last year. And Fairfax County has always led the way in registered participants — so let’s do so again this year. Register now to participate in this year’s drill.

Southeast ShakeOut Drill Oct. 20, 2016, 10:20 a.m.

Drop, Cover and Hold On

Drop, cover and hold on is the appropriate action to reduce injury and death during earthquakes. The ShakeOut drill is our opportunity to practice how to protect ourselves during earthquakes and learn what to do — and what not to do.

  • 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.Drop, Cover and Hold On for earthquake safety

Virginia Earthquake History

Virginia and much of the East Coast experienced a widely-felt earthquake at 1:51 p.m. eastern daylight time on Tuesday, August 23, 2011. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the epicenter of the quake was located near Cuckoo, in Louisa County. With a magnitude of 5.8, this is the largest Virginia earthquake recorded by seismometers. More than 80 aftershocks have been reported by the USGS and the area is currently being monitored by geophysicists from several leading science institutions.

The U.S. Geological Survey is now reporting that this is the most widely-felt earthquake in U.S. history.

Fairfax Alerts

If you’re not already registered for Fairfax Alerts, which sends emergency alert messages via text, email and phone, sign up today. You’ll not only get severe weather alerts, but also a reminder message about next week’s earthquake drill. Sign up at

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About Fairfax County Emergency Information

Official emergency information about preparedness, response and recovery from Fairfax County Government.

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