North Olympic Peninsula preps for ‘Big One’ with Great ShakeOut

Tsunami sirens will sound for three minutes during Thursday’s global earthquake drill, while events will take place across the region.

North Olympic Peninsula preps for ‘Big One’ with Great ShakeOut

PORT ANGELES — North Olympic Peninsula schools, libraries, local governments and residents will join millions in the Great ShakeOut, a global earthquake drill, on Thursday.

Tsunami sirens will sound along the West Coast at 10:20 a.m. Thursday, signaling the start of the drill, said Jamye Wisecup, program coordinator for Clallam County Emergency Management.

The three-minute-long siren will be preceded and followed by a message stating it’s only a drill.

As of Tuesday afternoon, nearly 13,000 people in Clallam and Jefferson counties were registered for the annual earthquake drill.

Wisecup recommends residents register and start talking about what they would do during an earthquake. Planning ahead is a good way to prevent injury, death and property damage, she said.

“We encourage people to do that so they are talking about it with their families,” she said.

She recommended visiting to register or for more information about the drill.

The North Olympic Library System also will participate in the earthquake drill at NOLS branch libraries in Clallam Bay, Forks, Port Angeles and Sequim.

Staff at each library location will lead the drills by making an announcement and instructing patrons and staff to “drop” to the ground, take “cover” under a desk or sturdy table and “hold on” for the remainder of the drill.

More information about disaster preparedness in Clallam and Jefferson counties will also be available for participants to take home.

Schools, organizations and governments will also be participating.

“Citizens don’t have to attend any meetings to participate,” said Bob Hamlin, Jefferson County Emergency Management director.

“This drill is about renewing awareness and taking just a few minutes to practice the ‘drop, cover and hold’ activity in our homes and offices.”

As part of the Washington Shakeout in October, participants are encouraged not only to “drop, cover and hold on” but to take at least one additional step to ready themselves and their families for earthquakes.

Wisecup said she plans to follow up with county staff after the drill, asking questions such as how they could contact emergency services without using a cellphone and how they could have access to water without having bottled water.

“I want to make people think outside of what’s convenient,” she said.

She’ll also be speaking today with childhood education students about how they can have developmentally appropriate activities with kids so they know what to do during an earthquake.

More than 1 million people in Washington have registered for the annual drill, according to Gov. Jay Inslee’s office.

From noon to 2 p.m Thursday, earthquake preparedness experts from the Washington Emergency Management Division and Federal Emergency Management Agency will join scientists with the state Department of Natural Resources and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network to gather online for a Reddit Ask Me Anything, an online Q&A.

The public is invited to ask questions at


Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at

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