SPRINGFIELD – On Dec. 16, 1811, a massive earthquake along the New Madrid Seismic Zone rocked the Central U.S. and was felt as far away as the East Coast. Two hundred years later, people throughout the Midwest are taking steps to prepare for a possible major earthquake in the region.
Nearly 60,000 Illinois residents have already registered to participate in “The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut,” an earthquake drill designed to raise awareness of the earthquake risk in the area. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) today encouraged schools, businesses, government agencies, families and others to register to participate in the second annual drill, which will be held at 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 7, 2012. Registration can be completed online at www.shakeout.org/centralus.
“During the first ShakeOut drill in April, nearly 260,000 Illinois residents participated,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “While the drill itself only takes a few minutes, knowing just a few simple steps to protect themselves can save countless lives if an earthquake hits.”
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 major earthquakes in the New Madrid Seismic Zone. The event is being organized by the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) and its member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma 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.