Great British Columbia ShakeOut

ShakeOutBC Earthquake Drill

More than 800,000 British Columbians signed up to participate in ShakeOut BC on Thursday, October 20, 2016, making it the largest earthquake drill in Canadian history!
Victoria has a one in three (32%) probability of a damaging earthquake in the next 50 years. It's not a matter of "if" an earthquake will happen, but when. "Drop! Cover! and Hold On!" is the most appropriate action to reduce injury and death during an earthquake. We need to get better prepared before the next big earthquake and practise how to protect ourselves when it happens. The purpose of the annual ShakeOut drill is to help people and organizations do both.
At you'll find frequently asked questions and a series of helpful fact sheets for individuals, families, schools, and a variety of organizations on how to participate in an earthquake drill.
To learn more about the supplies you and your family, pets, business or organization needs to have on hand to be able to cope for a minimum of three days in the event of an earthquake, check out Victoria's Recipe for Disaster series.

Drop, Cover and Hold On!:

Drop, Cover and Hold On! means:

  • DROP to the floor (before the earthquake drops you)
  • Take COVER under a desk or sturdy piece of furniture and protect your head, and
  • HOLD ON to the piece of furniture until the shaking stops.

Drop, Cover and Hold On! is the most appropriate action to reduce injury and death during an earthquake. It's a way to help protect yourself from falling debris during an earthquake.

For our Drop, Cover and Hold poster, click here [PDF - 765 KB].

To learn more, view the ShakeOutBC - Drop! Cover! Hold On! fact sheet. [PDF - 333 KB]

What to do during an earthquake, if you're...

... not near a table or desk?
Cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of a building. Do not try and run to another room just to get under a table or stand in a doorway.

... in a wheelchair or electric scooter?
Lock the wheels or turn off the power, lean forward and cover your head and neck with your arms. Hold this position for 60 seconds after the shaking has stopped.

... outdoors?
Stay outdoors. Move into the open away from buildings, street lights and overhead utility wires. Drop and cover your head and neck with your arms until the shaking stops.

... driving?
Pull over to the side of the road when safe to do so, avoiding overpasses, bridges, trees, and power lines. Turn off your vehicle and cover your head and neck with your arms and hold. Do not exit your vehicle until 60 seconds after the shaking has stopped.


The Great British Columbia ShakeOutis modelled after the highly successful California ShakeOut held the third Thursday of October each year since 2008. The City of Victoria participated in the inaugural ShakeOut BC earthquake drill in January 2011, which was timed with the 311th anniversary of the last Magnitude 9.0 Cascadia earthquake. A second drill was held the same year to align the annual Great British Columbia ShakeOut with the date of the California ShakeOut. Last year's drill will be the third ShakeOut drill in British Columbia.

The Great British Columbia ShakeOut initiative is led by the BC Earthquake Alliance Society. The Alliance works with members from emergency management, governments, science and on-profit organizations, and businesses to raise awareness of the risk of a major earthquake and promote earthquake preparedness across British Columbia.