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Oct. 10, 2018

Practice Earthquake Preparedness During the Great Arizona Shakeout

TUCSON, Ariz. — According to the U.S. Geological Survey, 50 percent of Americans live in earthquake-prone areas and about 100 earthquakes are recorded in Arizona each year. On Thursday, Oct. 18 at 10:18 a.m., the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill will teach people at school, work and home how to prepare for and survive the next damaging earthquake. 

In Arizona, most earthquakes go unfelt, but the potential for rare, life-threatening, large magnitude earthquakes exists. Geologic faults in Arizona, surrounding states and Mexico can produce damaging earthquakes up to magnitude 7.5. Such large events could cause strong and damaging ground-shaking across the state.

"Earthquakes can happen in Arizona or other places you travel. The Great ShakeOut is an opportunity to develop an important safety technique by practicing how to drop, take cover and hold on," said Wendy Smith-Reeve, deputy director of the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs and director of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management. 

On Thursday, Oct. 18 at 10:18 a.m., nearly 16 million Americans in more than 40 states and 4 U.S. territories will participate in the Great ShakeOut, America’s largest voluntary emergency preparedness event. In Arizona, the Great Arizona ShakeOut will involve at least 94,000 participants, including: school-age children; university students and staff; county, state and federal employees; tribal communities; health facilities; civic groups; and businesses.

During an earthquake, the greatest immediate danger in homes and buildings is from flying or falling items such as ceiling tiles, furniture, flat-screen TVs, pictures, lights, dishes, mirrors and ceiling fans. Lessons learned from the Great ShakeOut's two-minute long "Drop, Cover and Hold On" exercise can protect you and your family from serious injury.

At 10:18 a.m. on Oct. 18, all Arizonans are asked to:

  • Drop to the ground;
  • Take Cover under a sturdy table or desk and protect your head and neck;
  • Hold On until the shaking stops.

Participating in ShakeOut is free and open to the public. You and your family, business or school can enroll in the Great Arizona ShakeOut online at

Partners in the Great Arizona Shakeout include the UA Arizona Geological Survey, the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, county and municipal emergency management offices, the American Red Cross, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


Michael Conway
UA Arizona Geological Survey
Established in 1885, the University of Arizona, the state's super land-grant university with two medical schools, produces graduates who are real-world ready through its 100% Engagement initiative. Recognized as a global leader and ranked 16th for the employability of its graduates, the UA is also a leader in research, bringing more than $622 million in research investment each year, and ranking 21st among all public universities. The UA is advancing the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships, and is a member of the Association of American Universities, the 62 leading public and private research universities. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $8.3 billion annually.