Great Shakeout Drill and Emergency Notification System Test

Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 3:30pm

TO: Campus community
FR: Missy Brunetta, Director of Emergency Services, Associate Risk Manager, and COVID Compliance Lead

Tomorrow, October 21, 2021, millions of people will participate in the largest earthquake drill ever. It’s called the Great ShakeOut. Earthquakes can happen anywhere you work, live, or travel, which is why everyone, everywhere should know how to protect themselves during an earthquake. 

The Great ShakeOut drill is an opportunity to practice how to protect yourself during an earthquake. Federal, state, and emergency preparedness experts all agree that "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" is the appropriate action to reduce injury and death during an earthquake. More information about why Drop, Cover, and Hold On is the best response can be found here.

As part of the Great ShakeOut drill, Sonoma State University will conduct a test of our emergency notification system at 10:21 a.m. that will instruct students and employees to Drop, Cover, and Hold On to simulate response or, if practicing response is not practical, consider what you would do if there was an earthquake. We encourage faculty to include the brief drill during in-person classes, when possible. Practice dropping, covering, and holding on for thirty seconds minimum. 

In addition to the activation of the university’s emergency notification system, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) ShakeAlert early earthquake warning system will be tested, including notifications to mobile devices with early warning applications installed. These apps alert users to impending earthquakes based on data received from in-ground sensors located throughout the state. While we cannot predict earthquakes, early warning systems provide valuable seconds that allow you to get to a place of increased safety. For more information on early warning systems, including how to download the mobile apps, please visit the USGS website.

Testing of our emergency notification system is conducted periodically. During this test exercise, a notification will be sent to the contact information provided in your MySSU or MyHR accounts. Notifications may also appear as a text message on subscribed mobile phone numbers and as emails sent to SSU email addresses. Additionally, employees with on-campus workstations or computers connected through VPN will receive a desktop notification on their computers. Desktop notification is a new component of SSU’s emergency notification system.

You can verify or update your contact information by logging into MySSU (students) and MyHR (employees). When entering your mobile phone number in MySSU and MyHR, please make sure to label it as a “Mobile Phone” to ensure you receive text message alerts. In lieu of including your mobile phone number, you may opt in to the SSU emergency notification system by texting SSUALERTS to 67283.

For more information about emergency management at SSU, please visit If you have any questions about this test, please contact the Office of Emergency Services at