Earthquake Drill: Bates participates in Great Washington ShakeOut

Posted: October 16, 2019

Are You Ready to ShakeOut?

You could be anywhere when an earthquake strikes: at home, at work, at school or even on vacation. That’s why it’s important to practice how we can be safe during an earthquake.

On Thursday, Oct. 17 at 10:17 a.m., Bates Technical College will once again participate in the nationwide Great ShakeOut drill to educate the public on our earthquake threat and how we can be prepared for the day when the “Big One” strikes.

Learn more about our state’s participation at Great Washington ShakeOut.

We understand that not everyone will be able to participate in the drill exactly at 10:17 a.m., but we encourage you to do the drill at some point during the day on Thursday, Oct. 17. We want you to participate at the time that works best for you, whether it’s at the beginning of the day or during a break period.

Everyone should drop, cover and hold. No need to evacuate the building.

There will NOT be alerts sent out at 10:17 a.m.; however, we may test emergency notification systems at some point during the day, so you might see test messages pop up on your computer screens, in your emails, or via texts.

What should you do during an earthquake?

  • DROP down onto your hands and knees (before the earthquakes knocks you down). This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.
  • COVER your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, only then should you get down near an interior wall (or next to low-lying furniture that won’t fall on you), and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
  • HOLD ON to your shelter (or to your head and neck) until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.

Wherever you are, protect yourself! You may be in situation where you cannot find shelter beneath furniture (or low against a wall, with your arms covering your head and neck). It is important to think about what you will do to protect yourself wherever you are.

What should you NOT do during an earthquake?

DO NOT run outside or to other rooms during shaking: The area near the exterior walls of a building is the most dangerous place to be. Windows, facades and architectural details are often the first parts of the building to collapse. To stay away from this danger zone, stay inside if you are inside and outside if you are outside. Also, shaking can be so strong that you will not be able to move far without falling down, and objects may fall or be thrown at you that you do not expect. Injuries can be avoided if you drop to the ground before the earthquake drops you.

DO NOT stand in a doorway: An enduring earthquake image of California is a collapsed adobe home with the door frame as the only standing part. From this came our belief that a doorway is the safest place to be during an earthquake. True, if you live in an old, unreinforced adobe house or some older wood frame houses. In modern houses, doorways are no stronger than any other part of the house, and the doorway does not protect you from the most likely source of injury- falling or flying objects. You also may not be able to brace yourself in the door during strong shaking. You are safer under a table.

For more information about Bates’ earthquake drill, please contact Dee Nelons, college director of safety and security, 253.680.7143. For information on the nationwide effort, go to