All residents, businesses, and communities in Paso Robles are encouraged to participate

PASO ROBLES — As part of the aftermath of FEMA’s “National Preparedness Month” in September, individuals and communities across San Luis Obispo County are gearing up to participate in the annual Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill.

Held every year on the third Thursday of October, International ShakeOut Day falls on Thursday, October 19 this year. During this self-led drill, participants will practice the essential steps of “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” This response strategy has been endorsed by emergency officials and first responders as the safest way to react during an earthquake:

If Possible:

  1. DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position shields you from being knocked down by shaking and reduces the risk of being struck by falling or flying objects.
  2. COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. If no shelter is available, stay next to an interior wall while on your knees and bend over to protect vital organs.
  3. HOLD ON until the shaking ceases. If you are under shelter, hold on to it with one hand and be ready to move if necessary. If you have no shelter, hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

Or Adapt to Your Situation:

  • If you have difficulty getting onto the ground or cannot get up without help, follow these recommendations based on your circumstances.
    • If you are in a recliner or bed: Cover your head and neck with your arms or a pillow until the shaking stops.
    • If you use a cane: Drop, Cover, and Hold On or sit on a chair, bed, etc., and cover your head and neck with both hands. Keep your cane nearby for use after the shaking stops.
    • If you use a walker or wheelchair: LOCK your wheels (if applicable). If you use a walker, carefully get as low as possible, bend over, and COVER your head/neck with your arms, a book, or a pillow. Then hold on until the shaking stops.

John Prickett, Fire Captain for Paso Robles Fire and Emergency Services, emphasizes, “While damaging earthquakes here may be fewer in number when compared to other areas, they can occur at any time wherever we work, live, or travel within Paso Robles and throughout California. Everyone, everywhere, should know how to protect themselves from an earthquake.”

The ShakeOut is a free and public event, with participants ranging from individuals to schools, businesses, local and state government agencies, and various groups. To take part in the ShakeOut, individuals and organizations are encouraged to register at Upon registration, participants will receive regular information on planning drills and enhancing preparedness for earthquakes and other disasters.

As of now, 2.4 million people are registered to partake in this regional event, but Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills will also be conducted across the nation and in several countries worldwide. Over 45 million people globally are expected to participate, and many participants, in addition to safety drills, take extra steps to bolster their preparedness for earthquakes and other potential disasters.

The North SLO County Community Emergency Response Team has published information on how to prepare for an earthquake in its October newsletter, further emphasizing the importance of readiness and safety in the face of natural disasters.