In recent years several catastrophic power systems blackouts have occurred worldwide. Various reasons have been declared for these failures. Economical limitations due to power system restructuring restrictions, inadvertent operation of protective relays and inefficient design of conventional load shedding schemes are of the most important reasons causing these blackouts. In fact, due to both economical and technological restrictions, it is not possible to completely prevent these blackouts. However, with the aid of some protection and control strategies, frequency and intensity of these blackouts may be reduced. One of the important protection strategies used for this purpose is a class of protection schemes known as ‘System Protection Schemes’ or ‘Wide Area Protection Schemes’. One of the most commonly used types of system protection schemes, generally accepted after the north-eastern blackout of 1965, is Under Frequency Load Shedding (UFLS) scheme. Conventional under frequency load shedding scheme is designed to retrieve the balance of generation and consumption following a disturbance. In the conventional load shedding method frequency settings, time delay settings and the amount of load to be shed in each step are constant values. The loads to be shed by this scheme are also constant load feeders and are not selected adaptively. Using this constant non-adaptive load shedding algorithm is not the most efficient scheme for all power system disturbances. In some combinational disturbances, events causing frequency to drop are followed by other events causing voltage drop. In these cases, since loads are voltage dependent, total system load is reduced and system frequency might not decrease so much to activate UFLS relays. However, the system could eventually collapse due to voltage instability. In many such cases the system would survive if the load shedding relays operate adaptively and appropriately. For example if for large disturbances, higher frequency settings and lower time delays are used adaptively, a faster load shedding response is obtained and as a result system collapses may be prevented. In this paper a new UFLS algorithm is proposed. The purpose of this algorithm is to adaptively adjust speed of load shedding based on the magnitude of disturbance. In this method rate of frequency decline is used as a criterion to determine intensity of disturbance. Thereby, for large disturbances higher frequency settings and lower time delays are used. Application of the proposed algorithm to the simulated model of Khorasan network in Iran confirms its satisfactory performance. As the results of simulations show, several voltage collapse instabilities may be prevented by using the proposed adaptive UFLS method.