SPRINGFIELD – At 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 7, 2013, millions of people in the Central United States will seek shelter under their desks, kitchen tables and other sturdy objects as part of the third annual “Great Central U.S. ShakeOut” earthquake drill. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is encouraging people to register for the multi-state drill. More than 86,000 Illinois residents have registered to date.
“The ShakeOut drills have helped raise awareness of the earthquake risk in the Central U.S. and what people can do to protect themselves when the earth starts to shake,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “The drill takes just a few minutes, but the lessons learned could save countless lives.”
Monken noted that the most powerful earthquakes to ever occur in the U.S. happened a little over 200 years ago in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which reaches into Southern Illinois. That series of earthquakes lasted for several months and shaking was felt as far away as the East Coast. The Feb. 7, 2013, ShakeOut date coincides with the 201st anniversary of the last earthquake in that series.
Schools, businesses, government agencies, families and others are encouraged to register to participate in the drill at www.shakeout.org/centralus. Registered participants will receive additional information about the drill and earthquake preparedness. While the multi-state drill will take place at 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 7, individual drills can be conducted anytime within two weeks of the Feb. 7 date.
The drill focuses on the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” protective actions people should take when an earthquake begins: “Drop” down to the floor, take “Cover” under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture, and “Hold On” to the furniture item and be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops.
The event is being organized by the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) and its member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. Oklahoma residents will also be participating in the drill.
Additional information about the earthquake risk in Illinois and steps to take before, during and after an earthquake is available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.