Great ShakeOut includes tests on MyShake App, tsunami sirens

The Great Washington ShakeOut is set for Oct. 20 and will feature a test using the MyShake Earthquake Early Warning App.

At 10:20 a.m. on Oct. 20, you’re invited to drop, cover and hold on wherever you are – whether it’s at work, home or school. 

At about the same time, more than 120 Washington tsunami sirens along the inner and outer coast will be tested using the real wailing sound of a tsunami warning, not the Westminster Chimes that are typically used during the monthly tests. NOAA Weather Radios will also sound an alarm.


For the first time, a test will go out to those who have downloaded the free MyShake Earthquake Early Warning App on their phones. 

The test alert should include test audio telling people that this is a system test and no action is required. 

The MyShake App is powered the USGS ShakeAlert™ Earthquake Early Warning system and can provide a few seconds of warning before an actual earthquake hits. There will NOT be a test of the Wireless Emergency Alert system or Android’s built-in earthquake alerts.

Earthquake Early Warning is a relatively new technology in Washington state, available to the public for about a year and a half. 

To find links to download the app and and the three ways to get earthquake alerts on your phone in Washington, visit

If you don’t have the MyShake App you can still practice your great ShakeOut Drill simulating seconds of warning with a drill recording available here.

Registration isn’t required but it helps with understanding how effective outreach is of the app and state department. 

Anyone can register at

During ShakeOut at 10:20 a.m. on 10/20 we encourage people to drop, cover and hold on wherever they are – work, home, school, walking in park or at a shopping mall. Practicing builds muscle memory for when the real earthquake comes. If Oct. 20 doesn’t work for you, you can participate at a time that’s more convenient for you – it’s most important that you just practice.

During the event, use #ShakeOut on social media to join many others across the country posting pictures of themselves under desks or using proper earthquake protection techniques. You can also tag our Twitter account at @waShakeOut.

The drill only takes about five minutes, but you and your family are encouraged to take additional steps like crafting a communications plan, making an out-of-state contact or storing jugs of water – prepare at least one gallon of water per person per day. Every step you take to prepare helps make Washington more resilient in the face of disaster and will make even a huge event like an earthquake have less impact on you and your family.

If you’re on the coast, consider walking your evacuation route – or at least figure out where you would need to go to evacuate. You can find maps and how the sirens work at

If you hear the siren wailing sound any other time than on Oct. 20, immediately follow the closest tsunami evacuation route inland or to high ground. This is your warning that a tsunami is approaching and you need to evacuate the inundation zone as soon as possible. If you are on the coast and you feel the ground shaking, drop, cover and hold on to protect yourself. When the shaking stops, immediately follow the closest tsunami evacuation route inland or to high ground. Do not wait to hear a tsunami siren or to receive an official tsunami alert – the shaking is your warning that a tsunami may be on its way.


At 6 p.m., Oct. 12, earthquake scientists and preparedness experts will “live tweet” while watching the 2015 movie San Andreas. They’ll talk about what the movie gets right about preparedness – and what it gets wrong. And we’ll be hoping they don’t do a sequel about the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Follow along with #ShakeOut on Twitter and follow @waShakeOut.

At noon on Oct. 13, the Washington Emergency Management Division will talk about preparedness, tsunami sirens and take your questions on our Facebook page. If you have a question you want us to talk about and can’t make it, feel free to email us at [email protected].

At 11 a.m., Oct. 19, the Washington Emergency Management Division will team with scientists and other preparedness experts for an Ask Me Anything event on Reddit.

At 10 a.m. on Oct. 20, the Washington Emergency Management Division will field your earthquake-related questions on our Facebook page as we prep for ShakeOut Day ourselves in our state Emergency Operations Center. If you have a question you want us to talk about and can’t make it, feel free to email us at [email protected].

At 10:20 a.m., on Oct. 20, the Shoalwater Indian Tribe will team with the Washington Emergency Management Division for an event at the new vertical evacuation tower, 2373 Tokeland Road, Tokeland, WA. If you’re in the area, learn about the tower and practice walking to the top. For more information, email us at [email protected].