The Great Shakeout earthquake drill happens 10:15 a.m. on Oct. 20

Great Shakeout, Student Housing student assistants.jpg

Student assistants from Student Housing during Great Shakeout earthquake drill

October 17, 2022

By Amanda E. Snyder

You may think that the Monterey Bay area doesn’t have many earthquakes, but according to the website Earthquake Track, the Monterey area had more than 500 earthquakes in the last year. While most of these are smaller quakes, those of a magnitude 5.5 or greater occur 3 - 4 times per year across the state.

Even so, the large volume of these smaller quakes may lull people into thinking that earthquakes are no big deal. But Monterey County is a region with numerous local faults, meaning that the potential for earthquakes is high and it’s important to know how to stay safe.

To bring awareness to earthquake safety, the Earthquake Country Alliance spearheads the Great Shakeout earthquake drill every year, a worldwide initiative to help people practice how to protect themselves in an earthquake. Last year, more than 30 million people participated in the Great Shakeout at their homes, work, or schools.

This year, the Great Shakeout earthquake drill happens at CSUMB at 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20. Ken Folsom, Emergency Manager for CSUMB says, “We encourage all students, staff, and faculty to participate in the CSUMB earthquake drill.”

So what does that mean? It all comes down to “drop, cover and hold on.” explains the steps in detail:

DROP where you are onto your hands and knees. Why? This protects you from being knocked down and reduces your chances of being hit by falling objects.

COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall. Stay on your knees and bend over to protect your vital organs.

HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If you are under shelter, hold on to it with one hand and be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts. If you are not under a shelter, hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.


Students, faculty, and staff will be notified of the drill by an OtterAlert notification and on campus computers. When the drill begins, everyone should Drop, Cover and Hold On, then evacuate all buildings on campus until given the all-clear notification. The drill will take about 15 minutes.

Folsom says there are many resources available to help you be prepared, aside from the drill. These include staying informed through campus resources like OtterAlert, as well as the Earthquake Warning California website and the MyShake app.