Earthquake Preparedness

Earthquakes Happen Here in Washington County

Since 2010, four local earthquakes have shaken Washington County. In 1700, the entire Pacific Northwest felt a major earthquake from the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a 600-mile-long fault that runs parallel to the Oregon and Washington coastlines. It has produced 40 magnitude-8 or -9 earthquakes in the last 10,000 years.

Earthquake Faults

(Above) There are several faults located in and around Washington County.

(Below) The Cascadia Subduction Zone extends 600 miles along the Oregon and Washington coastlines and is capable of producing the world’s most powerful earthquakes.

Cascadia Subduction Zone

Before an earthquake

For yourself

With your family and neighbors

  • Talk to your family about what to do when an earthquake strikes. Make a plan together.
  • Be social and talk with your neighbors. Host a preparedness BBQ or game night and talk about your earthquake preparedness efforts.
  • Practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On annually with
  • Identify an out-of-town contact in case local area communications are busy. Learn how to create an emergency communications plan at
  • Consider earthquake insurance. Normal homeowners insurance does not provide coverage for earthquake damage.

During an earthquake


Drop to your hands and knees, cover your head and neck, hold on to something sturdy and stay put until the shaking stops. Ground shaking during an earthquake can last up to six minutes.


If you can safely do so, move to a clear area free from objects that could fall on you, then Drop, Cover, and Hold On.

Near a shoreline

As soon as it’s safe to walk, move to higher ground. Use a tsunami evacuation route.

After the shaking stops

  • hazard icon
    Check for hazards and damage.
  • first aid icon
    Check for injuries and help others.
  • people icon
    Check in with family and neighbors.
  • earthquake icon
    Be ready for aftershocks.

Additional Resources

Each year in October, thousands of Oregonians "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" in The Great Oregon ShakeOut, the state’s largest earthquake drill. Get your friends and coworkers to join us! Sign up at

Want to track earthquakes in real time? Check out the USGS’s latest earthquakes map: