Washington to participate in Great ShakeOut earthquake drill for 10th year

Oct 20, 2021, 3:33 PM | Updated: 3:34 pm
A teacher wears a Great Shakeout sticker on her sleeve as students assemble on the playground in San Francisco, California.(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

If you hear sirens Thursday at 10:21 a.m., don’t panic. It’s the annual Great ShakeOut, a nationwide (and now global) earthquake and tsunami drill.

This is the 10th year Washington state has participated in the event.

Washington’s new earthquake warning system is live

At 10:21 a.m. on Oct. 21, you are invited to drop, cover, and hold on, wherever you are, whether that’s at work, at home, or at school. At the same time, Washington’s 122 coastal tsunami sirens will be tested.

That network of coastal tsunami sirens emit a wailing sound, which is different from the Westminster Chimes that are used during monthly tests. Plus, the state says many of the sirens are new, so you may be hearing them coming from new directions. Some new sirens are still being worked on and may not be used during the test. Washington Emergency Management Division asks that you do not call 911. NOAA Weather Radios will also sound an alarm.

If you’re on the coast, the department suggest walking your evacuation route or at least figuring out where you would need to go to evacuate. If you hear tsunami siren wailing any other time than during this drill on Oct. 21, follow the closest evacuation route inland or to high ground.

If you’re working from home, Emergency Management says this is a good time to look at your environment for hazards and to talk to your family about where you would gather if your home was hit by an earthquake. If you’re at work or have kids in school, they recommend asking what plans are in place if an earthquake happens.

Study shows impact of Cascadia tsunami on Puget Sound communities

More than 1 million Washington residents have registered to participate in the drill Thursday. Registration isn’t required, but it’s available online here.

During the event, use #ShakeOut on social media to join others across the country posting pictures of themselves under desks or using proper earthquake protection techniques. Download a free “Prepare in a Year” guide to find steps to take each month to get prepared here.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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Washington to participate in Great ShakeOut earthquake drill for 10th year