Occupational Health & Safety

Great Central ShakeOut Drill Urges Earthquake Preparedness

While similar ShakeOut earthquake drills are frequently conducted by California and other states on an individual basis, this is the first multistate earthquake drill, and the first drill in the central U.S., where many states would be impacted if a major earthquake hit the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

More than 2.5 million people across the central U.S. have signed up to take part in the first Great Central U.S. ShakeOut tomorrow, April 28, 2011, beginning at 10:15 a.m. The ShakeOut will be centered around a simultaneous “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” drill, which is the recommended action to take in the event of an earthquake:

  • Drop to the ground
  • Take cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
  • Hold on to it until the shaking stops

A key aspect of the ShakeOut is the integration of earthquake research and the lessons learned from social science research about why people get prepared for disasters. With scientists estimating that there is a 20-40 percent probability of a damaging earthquake occurring in the central U.S. within the next 50 years, the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut is designed to help individuals and communities in the region get ready for damaging earthquakes, practice how to protect themselves, and to prevent disasters from becoming catastrophes.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently called on K-12 schools and colleges and universities across the central U.S. to help their students, faculty, and communities prepare for earthquakes by participating in the drill.

While similar ShakeOut earthquake drills are frequently conducted by California and other states on an individual basis, this is the first multistate earthquake drill, and the first drill in the central U.S., where many states would be impacted if a major earthquake hit the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

"As the recent earthquakes in American Samoa, Haiti, New Zealand, Chile and now Japan remind us, earthquakes can strike at any time," Napolitano said. "It's critical that all members of the nation's emergency management team—including the federal government, state, local and tribal officials, the private sector and the public—are prepared. Learning how to protect yourself and your loved ones in the event of an earthquake or other disaster is a vital life skill - and we look forward to working with schools, colleges and our other partners to strengthen the resiliency of communities across the central United States."

Participating states include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

For more information, go to http://www.shakeout.org/centralus/.

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