Great Washington ShakeOut coming up soon

For the first time, the Washington coast's entire system of tsunami-warning sirens will broadcast the real warning sound during the upcoming Oct. 18 drill. Residents should make note of the sound, but not worry about actual immediate danger.

LONG BEACH — State residents are about a week away from the Great Washington ShakeOut, part of the nation’s largest earthquake exercise.

Last year, more than 1 million Washington residents signed up to practice their earthquake readiness during the annual earthquake drill, which will be held this year at 10:18 a.m. on Oct. 18. It’s looking like the state will hit at least 1 million registrations again this year.

Many more will likely participate. People and organizations can sign up to participate at www.shakeout.org/washington. Registration isn’t required but helps the state tally how many are participating.

“Practicing drop, cover and hold on skills on a regular basis builds muscle memory so when an earthquake does hit, you’ll know instinctively what to do,” said Robert Ezelle, director of Washington Emergency Management Division. “We also want residents to take a look at your emergency kits. It’s important that you’re two weeks ready, not just for earthquakes, but big storms and power outages.”

Earthquake experts from Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, Washington Emergency Management Division, Washington Department of Natural Resources and FEMA Region X will be on hand for a Reddit Ask Me Anything — an online Q&A starting at 11 a.m., Oct. 11. The public is invited to ask questions at www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/. A Facebook Live Q&A will also happen at about the same time at www.facebook.com/WashEMD.

For the first time, all of the coastal sirens in Washington state will be tested on Oct. 18 at 10:18 a.m. using the real sound of the siren, not the Westminster Chimes that typically happen during the monthly tests. During previous ShakeOut drills, some jurisdictions had opted out, but all of the sirens will activate now.

Organizers also encourage participants to take photos of themselves participating in the drill and post those photos to social media using the hashtag #ShakeOut or tag the Twitter account @waShakeOut.

• Preparedness tips are available here: mil.wa.gov/preparedness

• Tips in Spanish: www.mil.wa.gov/preparese

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