Earthquake Drill Takes Place at 10:20 on 10/20

UC Riverside will participate in statewide exercise with “drop, cover, hold on” response, building evacuations, information fair

The Department of Earth Sciences hosted an earthquake information fair at the Bell Tower on Oct. 20 as part of The Great California ShakeOut activities. The campus community was urged to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” at 10:20 a.m. to join millions of Californians participating in a statewide earthquake drill. The photo shows David Oglesby (right), an associate professor of geophysics and an organizer of the ShakeOut event on campus, discussing earthquake preparedness with a UCR student. Photo credit: UCR Strategic Communications.

RIVERSIDE, Calif.—Are you ready to drop, cover, and hold on at 10:20 a.m. on Oct. 20 and join millions of Californians as they take part in a statewide earthquake drill? As in years past, the University of California, Riverside community will participate in the drill that is designed to prepare all Californians for the eventual Big One.

Called The Great California ShakeOut, the approximately two-minute-long exercise is voluntary. The university, however, is urging all students, faculty and staff to take part in the drill as a first response to a simulated magnitude 7.8 earthquake along the southern San Andreas Fault.

The "Drop, Cover, Hold On" drill is the best course of action during an earthquake.

“Such a powerful earthquake could devastate much of Southern California,” said David Oglesby, an associate professor of geophysics in the Department of Earth Sciences, who is helping organize the event. “Because we live in earthquake country, everyone at UC Riverside and in the surrounding community needs to know what to do when the ground starts shaking. We need to know that trying to run outside or going to an interior doorway are both dangerous actions. Instead, we should Drop, Cover, and Hold On until the shaking stops, and then carefully go outside to a location at a safe distance, away from debris that may fall from buildings.”

The following is the schedule of ShakeOut campus activities for Oct. 20:

10:20 a.m.: A campuswide Drop, Cover, Hold On drill (the best course of action during an earthquake). A campus warning siren will mark the start of the drill andKUCR Radio will start playing a two-minute Drop, Cover, Hold On instructional walk-through clip. This will be followed by an evacuation of some buildings at 10:25 a.m. Evacuees will assemble on the East Lawn for approximately 10 minutes.

11 a.m.-1 p.m.: An earthquake information fair at the Bell Tower. Experts will answer questions raised by the ShakeOut drill. Also featured at the fair are earthquake preparedness tips, displays on historical earthquakes and their effects, demonstrations and educational activities on the science of earthquakes.

Additionally, there will be a demonstration of how earthquake faults operate; a simple seismograph that displays people’s jumps and stomps; a laptop-based seismograph network; and displays about recent earthquakes around the world.

“UCR has taken part in every ShakeOut exercise since its inception,” said Paul Walker, the campus emergency manager and also an organizer of the campus drill. “If the recent earthquake on the East Coast showed us anything, it’s that earthquakes can happen anytime, and practically anywhere. I urge everyone to participate—even if they don’t live in California.”

California is the highest risk state in the country for earthquake activity. Last year, 7.9 million Californians joined in the ShakeOut, with 1.8 million of them identifying as college and university participants.

David Oglesby (right), an associate professor of geophysics and an organizer of the ShakeOut event on campus, explains earthquake stresses to a UCR student. Photo credit: UCR Strategic Communications.

ShakeOut is held each year on the third Thursday of October.

“Regular earthquake drills are crucial, because we need to be able to take the correct action immediately, without having to think about it,” Oglesby said. “The yearly ShakeOut drill is the perfect time to practice.”

UCR is a core member of the Southern California Earthquake Center, which is one of the co-sponsors of ShakeOut.

For general information on the ShakeOut drill throughout Southern California, visit For information on UCR’s participation in the drill, visit

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