SPRINGFIELD – At 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 7, 2012, millions of people in the Central United States will seek shelter under their desks, kitchen tables and other sturdy objects as part of the second annual “Great Central U.S. ShakeOut” earthquake drill. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is encouraging people to register for the multi-state drill. Nearly 22,000 Illinois residents have registered to date.
“The drill takes just a few minutes, but the lessons learned can save countless lives,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “Many people don’t realize that the most powerful earthquakes to ever occur in the U.S. took place 200 years ago along the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which reaches into southern Illinois. That risk, along with the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone in southeastern Illinois and numerous other faults throughout the state, is why we’re encouraging residents to take part in the ShakeOut drill.”
Monken said 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.
More than three million people in 11 states participated in the first “Great Central U.S. ShakeOut” on April 28, 2011, including nearly 260,000 participants in Illinois. 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 date for the 2012 ShakeOut drill coincides with the 200th anniversary of the Feb. 7, 1812, earthquake near New Madrid, Missouri, the last of a series of earthquakes that were felt as far away as the East Coast. 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.
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.