FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Memphis, TN — In less than two months, individuals and communities throughout ten states in the central U.S. will participate in the fourth Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake drill. Now held annually on the third Thursday of October, the ShakeOut is set for Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 10:17 a.m. CDT. During the self-led drill, participants practice how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On”. Endorsed by emergency officials and first responders, the proper response to an earthquake is to:
- Drop to the ground
- Take Cover under a sturdy table or desk if possible, protecting your head and neck
- Hold On until the shaking stops
Following FEMA’s National Preparedness Month in September, Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills are occurring nationwide in more than 40 states and territories. More than 12 million people are expected to participate in drills on October 17. In addition to the safety drills, many participant take extra steps to become more prepared for earthquakes.
In the central U.S., scientists estimate that there is a 25-40 percent possibility of a damaging earthquake occurring within a 50 year window. A large earthquake here could have major impacts on the population and national transportation, communication, utility, and financial systems. Additionally, ShakeOut comes on the heels of the two year anniversary of the damaging August 23, 2011 M5.8 Mineral, Virginia earthquake which caused considerable damage in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Several national landmarks, including the Washington Monument, the Smithsonian Institute, and the National Cathedral are undergoing multi-year restorations as a result of this earthquake.
Coordinated by the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) and the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee; nearly 3 million people participated in the third Central U.S. ShakeOut in February 2013. To align with other states and regions throughout the country, the Central U.S. ShakeOut will occur in October going forward. For the October 2013 drill, Ohio is being introduced as a full participating state. Ohio has a similar earthquake risk to surrounding states such as Indiana and Kentucky, and has also had damaging earthquakes in years past. ShakeOut organizers are excited to have another state help increase earthquake awareness and preparedness efforts in the region.
The goal of the program is to engage participants to take steps to become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters. The drill is free and open-to-the-public, and participants include individuals, schools, businesses, local and state government agencies, and many other groups. Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills began in California in 2008 and have expanded each year since then.
To take part in the ShakeOut, individuals and organizations are asked to sign up to participate in the drill by visiting www.ShakeOut.org/centralus. Once registered, participants receive information about showcase events in their area and regular information on how to plan their drill and become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters.