South Carolina to ShakeOut for Earthquake Preparedness Week

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Governor Henry McMaster has proclaimed Earthquake Preparedness Week for 2023 to be observed October 15-21 in South Carolina. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division encourages everyone to take this opportunity to learn about our state’s seismic fault system and how best to prepare for earthquakes. A highlight of the week will be the Great Southeast ShakeOut on Thursday, October 19, at 10:19 a.m.

More than 1.8 million people across eight states and Washington D.C. will take part in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut earthquake safety drill. The regional ShakeOut drill is part of an international effort in which participants simultaneously practice how to stay safe during an earthquake — “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” For most people, in most situations, this means:

DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees;

COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand as you crawl for shelter under a nearby table or desk;

HOLD ON to your shelter with one hand until the shaking stops (remain on your knees and cover your head and neck with your other arm and hand).

Schools, businesses, organizations, government agencies, communities, and households are all encouraged to participate. Worldwide, more than 50 million people are expected to participate in Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills this year.

Registration on the Great Southeast ShakeOut site is an important part of this event. This event is open to everyone in South Carolina. To register, go to

Similar to other emergency preparedness drills sponsored by SCEMD, the signal to begin the drill will be broadcast next Thursday at 10:19 a.m. on NOAA tone-alert weather radio and broadcast media. All media are encouraged to participate in the ShakeOut by broadcasting the drill message issued by SCEMD and the National Weather Service.

There have been over a dozen low-magnitude earthquakes recorded in South Carolina so far this year. Geologists from the College of Charleston report that our state experiences 10 to 20 earthquakes annually. The South Carolina Emergency Manager mobile app has an earthquake map feature that lists recent earthquake activity. It also allows you to sign up to be notified when one occurs.

The epicenter of the largest earthquake ever recorded along the eastern United States seaboard was just outside of Charleston on August 31, 1886. The 7.3 magnitude quake devastated the region and was felt from Chicago to Cuba. According to a study commissioned by SCEMD, an earthquake of similar magnitude occurring today would result in tremendous loss of life, severe property damage and extreme economic loss. The results of the study are detailed at Earthquake.SC.