Disaster Preparedness: Lessons from the Great Southern California ShakeOut

Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Capitol Visitor Center 
SVC 215
2:30PM – 3:30PM

Sponsored by the Geological Society of America, American Geophysical Union, Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, and Seismological Society of America

In cooperation with the Congressional Hazards Caucus:

Senators Mary Landrieu, Lisa Murkowski, and Ben Nelson, and
Representatives Dennis Moore, Jo Bonner, and Zoe Lofgren, Co–Chairs of the Caucus


Over 5 million people participated in the Great Southern California ShakeOut, the largest disaster preparedness drill in U.S. history.  The briefing will feature the science behind the ShakeOut and changes that are taking place to strengthen infrastructure and improve emergency response.

ShakeOut Presentation (PDF, 4.36 MB)
"Preparedness Now" video
"ARkStorm" video
ShakeOut Simulation videos


Lucile Jones, Chief Scientist, Multi Hazards Project, U.S. Geological Survey

Gary Sturdivan, Emergency Manager, East Valley Water District, San Bernardino, California

Stephen Sellers, Assistant Secretary for Prevention, Operations and Recovery, California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA)

Last November, over 5 million people participated in the Great Southern California ShakeOut, making it the largest disaster preparedness drill in U.S. history. This briefing will feature the science behind the ShakeOut and the implementation of the ShakeOut to strengthen infrastructure and improve emergency response. Speakers will share some of the keys to success including a broad-based outreach program, media engagement, and public advocacy by hundreds of partners. A comprehensive science-based earthquake scenario helped make the hazard real to people, and communication approaches that applied decades of social science research helped get them to be better prepared. Even more important than the event itself has been the changes that have been taking place to strengthen resilience before disaster strikes, with steps being taken by communities, critical infrastructure operators and emergency managers. A statewide ShakeOut exercise is planned for October 15, 2009, in what is hoped will become an annual exercise. And work is underway on a statewide scenario for a catastrophic winter storm, taking the lessons of ShakeOut to a new set of hazards.


American Geophysical Union
Geological Society of America
Incorporated Reserach Institutions for Seismology
Seismological Society of America

The Hazards Caucus Alliance, an informal network of organizations concerned about reducing the risk of hazards, invites your participation in this public briefing and in future Caucus events.

Contributed by Corina Cerovski-Darriau, Government Affairs Staff.

Posted July 16, 2009; Updated August 4, 2009