Sponsor spotlight: Snohomish County tsunami sirens will sound warning tone for Great Washington ShakeOut Oct. 20

At 10:20 a.m. on Oct. 20, 2022, millions of people in Washington State will participate in the largest earthquake and tsunami drill ever: ShakeOut! Why? Earthquakes can happen anywhere, so everyone should know how to protect themselves when an earthquake occurs. Coastal earthquakes can be followed by tsunamis – which is why the Great Washington ShakeOut includes a tsunami drill.

As part of ShakeOut, Washington’s network of 122 tsunami sirens will be tested around 10:20 a.m. on Oct. 20 using the wailing sound of a tsunami warning, not the Westminster Chimes that are used during the monthly tests. Please do not call 911. Instead, use this opportunity to practice walking to the closest high ground and testing your evacuation and reunification plan with your family. Learn more at https://mil.wa.gov/tsunami

The wailing sound will be followed by this message in English and Spanish: “This is a test of the siren alert system. If you are in a low coastal area, test your evacuation route. If this had been a real emergency, you should follow evacuation routes, move to higher ground inland, now. Do not delay. Do not return until directed to do so. Tune into your local media sources for further instructions. This was only a test.”

Snohomish County currently has 3 tsunami sirens in the following locations:

  • Port of Everett Terminal Pier, 2900 Terminal Ave, Everett, WA
  • Port of Everett Marina Park, 607 10th Street, Everett, WA
  • Olympic Beach Park, 51 West Dayton Street, Edmonds, WA

During ShakeOut at 10:20 a.m. on 10/20 we encourage people to drop, cover and hold on wherever they are – work, home, school, walking in park or at a shopping mall. Practicing builds muscle memory for when the real earthquake comes.

NOAA weather radios set to receive tsunami alerts will also activate during this test.

Those who download the MyShake App will also get a test warning on their phones. The test alert should include test audio telling people that this is a system test and no action is required. The MyShake App is powered the USGS ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning system and can provide a few seconds of warning before an actual earthquake hits. There will not be a test of the state’s Wireless Emergency Alert system. You need to download the app to get the alert.

Installation of the tsunami siren at Edmonds Marina Park in June 2021.

Know Your Tsunami Warning Signs

If you hear the siren wailing sound outside of the Great Washington ShakeOut, immediately follow the closest tsunami evacuation route inland or to high ground. This is your warning that a tsunami is approaching, and you need to evacuate the inundation zone as soon as possible.

If you are on the coast and you either receive an earthquake alert to your phone or feel ground shaking, drop, cover and hold on to protect yourself. When the shaking stops, immediately follow the closest tsunami evacuation route inland or to high ground. Do not wait to hear a tsunami siren or to receive an official tsunami alert – the shaking is your warning that a tsunami may be on its way.

A graphic showing examples of natural tsunami warning signs: ground shaking, rapid recession of water, and other odd wave behavior.
A graphic showing examples of official tsunami warnings: phone alerts, TV alerts, NOAA Weather Radio announcements, and tsunami sirens.

Be a Part of ShakeOut!

Register at www.ShakeOut.org/Washington to practice and improve your level of earthquake and tsunami safety. Everyone everywhere can participate! Individuals, families, businesses, schools, government agencies, and organizations are all invited to join in at 10:20 am on 10/20. Learn more about Snohomish County’s tsunami hazard, including how to find tsunami maps for your area and to sign up for tsunami alerts, at mil.wa.gov/tsunamis.

Learn more about the City of Edmonds’ emergency management program at this link.


Elyssa Tappero, Tsunami Program Coordinator for Washington Emergency Management Division, Elyssa.Tappero@mil.wa.gov

Maximilian Dixon, Hazards and Outreach Program Supervisor for Washington Emergency Management Division, Maximilian.Dixon@mil.wa.gov

Chuck Wallace, City of Edmonds Safety & Disaster Coordinator, charles.wallace@edmondswa.gov


  1. We can only imagine how many lives would have been saved in Japan if they had had a program like this when the tsunami hit on March 11, 2011. It was an 8.9 magnitude and only 80 miles East of the city of Sendai. THANK YOU TO all who helped make this happen!

    FYI: The Seattle Fault occurred around 1,100 years ago, shifting the landscape in Puget Sound. That earthquake, likely between magnitude 7 and 7.5, lifted the southern end of Bainbridge Island and West Seattle more than 20 feet (6 meters), generated a tsunami, and created landslides into Lake Washington,

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