FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEMPHIS, TN — As residents from Texas to Florida begin to pick up the pieces following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, we are reminded of the powerful forces of Mother Nature and the potential for loss of life, property, and infrastructure related to natural disasters. Along with hurricanes and severe weather, it is important for citizens in the central and eastern U.S. to remember that they are not immune to earthquakes—the region is home to several active seismic zones—both naturally occurring and induced zones that are capable of producing damaging earthquakes.
Following FEMA’s “National Preparedness Month” in September, individuals and communities throughout 14 mid-west states are encouraged to participate in the annual Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill. Held annually on the third Thursday of October, the ShakeOut International Day of Action is set for Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 10:19 a.m. During the self-led drill, millions of people practice how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On”. For most people, in most situations, the recommended earthquake safety action is to:
- DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees;
- COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand, as you crawl for shelter under a nearby table or desk;
- HOLD ON to your shelter with one hand until shaking stops (remain on your knees and covering your head and neck with your other arm and hand).
According to CUSEC Executive Director Jim Wilkinson, “While earthquakes may occur less frequently compared to other disasters such as hurricanes and flooding or severe weather, they can happen without warning and can also cause catastrophic damage and loss of life. At any time, a damaging earthquake can impact us wherever we live, work, or travel within the region and beyond. Citizens can learn how to protect themselves, their families, and businesses against earthquakes and other disasters by participating in preparedness and safety events such as Great ShakeOut Drills and National Preparedness Month.
We also encourage communities in areas of elevated seismic hazard to implement sound land-use and development practices including adopting and enforcing up-to-date seismic building provisions. These enhanced community planning standards improve life safety and infrastructure protection against a variety of hazards and are a key factor in speeding long-term recovery efforts following a disaster.”
The ShakeOut is free and open to the public, and participants include individuals, schools, businesses, local and state government agencies, and many other groups. To take part in the ShakeOut, individuals and organizations are asked to join the drill by registering to participate www.shakeout.org. Once registered, participants receive regular information on how to plan their drill and become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters.
In 2016, more than 3 million people participated in this regional event, however Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills also occur throughout most of the nation and in several countries worldwide. More than 50 million people around the globe are expected to participate in 2017; and in addition to safety drills, many participants take extra steps to become more prepared for earthquakes or other disasters.
The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut is being coordinated by CUSEC and our Member and Associate States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey, and dozens of other partners. ShakeOut is coordinated globally by the Southern California Earthquake Center in Los Angeles, California.