Case Studies

Millions of People in One Day:
The Great ShakeOut

  • Challenge:

    How does a region of 23 million people that hasn’t had earthquakes in over 15 years overcome the normalization of “no earthquakes”? That’s the question that the USGS, the Southern California Earthquake Center, & Caltech were struggling with when they wanted to motivate the Southern California community to take action. Taking complex information and connecting to leaders on this scale needed special expertise and a focus that wasn’t readily found in the scientific and academic settings.

  • Solution:

    In 2008, the first Great ShakeOut was held with over 5 million Southern Californians participating. Stratiscope founder John Bwarie co-led the effort, establishing goals and strategies to create the largest disaster drill in US History. By using proven strategies of community building and empowerment, the effort was designed to be “out of control” so that the organizers didn’t have to manage every person’s participation. Everyone was encouraged to take it and make it their own, to great success. Assessments after the first event revealed that participants had increased not only their awareness but their level of preparedness beyond the one drill. And since that first ShakeOut in 2008, the annual event has been adopted nationally and internationally and has tens of millions of participants worldwide every year.