This Thursday, February 7, 2013, at 10:15 AM (CST), over 2.7 million people in the Central U.S. will participate in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, the region’s largest earthquake drill. Join communities throughout Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee who will participate in this event. People and organizations in other states are also encouraged to participate, especially if you are in an earthquake prone area.
Major earthquakes may happen anywhere you work, live, or travel. The ShakeOut is a great opportunity to practice earthquake safety, and for everyone to become prepared. The goal is to prevent disasters from becoming catastrophes.
Everyone can participate! Residents will practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On,” the safest way to protect yourself during shaking. First, DROP to the ground. Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops (or the drill ends). In an earthquake, you would stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure that it is safe to exit. Stay where you are.
If you are outside or in your car during the ShakeOut, you can also practice earthquake safety during the drill. If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power/gas lines. Drop low to the ground to avoid falling, and stay put until the shaking stops.
If you are driving, pull over to the shoulder or curb, away from utility poles, overhead wires, and under or over passes. Stay in the car, set the parking brake, and keep your seatbelt on. Turn on the radio for emergency broadcast information. In an earthquake, a car may jiggle violently on its springs, but it is a good place to stay until the shaking stops. If a power line falls on the car, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.
Why is a “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” drill important? As with anything, to act quickly you must practice often. You may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake before strong shaking knocks you down or something falls on you.
The ShakeOut is a great chance to test emergency plans and procedures, update disaster supply kits, and secure any items that may fall or cause injury during an earthquake.
For more information about how to prepare yourself, your family, your community or your business before during and after an earthquake, visit Ready.gov. FEMA online has a great Earthquake Safety Checklist, an Earthquake Safety Guide for Homeowners and the QuakeSmart Toolkit, designed to help businesses learn about earthquake preparedness.
The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut is coordinated by the Central US Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) and its Member and Associate States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and dozens of other partners.
Visit the Central US Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) for an extensive library of earthquake safety publications online. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) also maintains a wide selection of earthquake-related publications online.