More Than 720k Participate in Largest-Ever Quake Drill in Oregon


PORTLAND — The Oregon Office of Emergency Management in coordination with Portland Bureau of Emergency Management and Portland Public Schools, visited Benson High School in Portland today to observe the Great Oregon ShakeOut earthquake drill, a Youth Disaster Academy, and to talk to a ShakeAlert early earthquake warning expert from the University of Oregon. 

The ShakeOut is the world’s largest earthquake drill, and this year 722,768 Oregonians participated throughout the state. 

Students at Benson High School in Portland participate in the Great ShakeOut.

The Youth Disaster Academy, organized by Portland Public Schools, the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, and Portland Fire & Rescue gives students a chance to learn emergency preparedness skills. The training includes hands-only CPR, an introduction to search and rescue/medical triage, small fire suppression, radio communications and an overview of local hazards.

This year’s ShakeOut also happened as valuable new, early earthquake warning technology, ShakeAlert, is being developed and implemented. An early-warning system, ShakeAlert detects significant earthquakes quickly so that alerts can reach many people before shaking starts. 

“Great ShakeOut earthquake drills are an opportunity to practice how to be safer during earthquakes by learning how to drop, cover and hold on when the shaking starts said Oregon Office of Emergency Management Public Information Officer Cory Grogan.  “The ShakeOut also encourages us to think about emergency plans and supplies, and to secure spaces we live and work to prevent damage and injuries.” 

Oregon is earthquake country

Oregon is earthquake country. In 1993, western Oregon experienced two damaging earthquakes: Scotts Mills (magnitude 5.6) and Klamath Falls (magnitudes 5.9 and 6). Molalla High School and the State Capitol building were severely damaged.

In addition to those crustal fault earthquakes, there is evidence that a massive subduction zone earthquake will happen off the coast from Northern California to British Columbia with force similar to that which hit Indonesia in 2004, and Japan in 2011, during subduction zone earthquakes and tsunamis.

By preparing now for future earthquakes, we can protect our homes and families.

Great ShakeOut earthquake drills are an opportunity to practice how to be safer during earthquakes by knowing how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On.”  ShakeOut organizers say that to react quickly you must practice often. You may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake, before strong shaking knocks you down or drops something on you.

Learn more about earthquakes in Oregon and how to prepare visit.

This helpful video shows you what to do during an earthquake:

 “Earthquakes are one of the natural hazards we face in Oregon and “The Great ShakeOut is a safe and fun way to practice what to do when seismic activity occurs,” says Althea Rizzo, geologic hazards awareness program coordinator at Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management.

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The Oregon Office of Emergency Management's mission is to lead collaborative state-wide efforts, inclusive of all partners and communities, to ensure capability to get help in an emergency and to protect, mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies or disasters.

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