FEMA Encourages Participation in Earthquake Drill

FEMA is encouraging families, schools, businesses, tribes and state and local governments to participate in the first ever Great SouthEast ShakeOut, a regional earthquake drill in which participants -- from the District of Columbia, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia -- simultaneously practice the recommended action to take during an actual earthquake.

Earthquakes strike suddenly, without warning, and can have disastrous and far-reaching effects. While earthquake hazards vary from region to region, the Southeast is prone to this dangerous hazard.

The regional earthquake drill comes on the heels of the 2012 National Preparedness Month in September and the 1-year anniversary of the 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Mineral, Virginia.   That earthquake was felt as far north as New England and as far south as Georgia, and caused widespread light to moderate damage from central Virginia to southern Maryland and Washington, DC, including millions of dollars in damage to area landmarks such as the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral.

"It is vitally important for people to have a plan and know what to do during an earthquake," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.  "The Great SouthEast ShakeOut provides a timely and relevant opportunity for all levels of government, non-profit and faith-based organizations, the private sector, individuals and families to review preparedness plans and practice what to do during an actual event."

When an earthquake happens, you only have seconds to react, so it’s important to know what to do when the ground starts shaking.  The action you need to take is known as "Drop, Cover and Hold On."

  • DROP to the ground;
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table; and
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

If it’s not possible to get to the floor to safely take cover, before the exercise, identify an inside corner of the room near your work station or the other locations you may be in, away from windows and objects that could fall on you.  The Earthquake Country Alliance advises getting as low as possible to the floor. People who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices should lock their wheels and remain seated until the shaking stops. Protect your head and neck with your arms, a pillow, a book, or whatever is available. To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, including information for seniors and those with disabilities, visit http://www.ready.gov/earthquakes.

Plan now to invest in safety for 90 seconds on Thursday, October 18 at 10:18 am, your local time.  Drop, Cover and Hold On, as part of the 2012 ShakeOut earthquake drill. There are many ways for individuals, households, businesses, schools, faith-based organizations, community groups, and others to participate in the ShakeOut.  For information about the drill and how to pledge to participate, please visit http://www.shakeout.org/ or http://www.shakeout.org/southeast/.

In addition to the areas participating in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut, similar drills will also be held on October 18 in California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Guam, Puerto Rico, Alaska and Arizona. For details on U.S. earthquake information by state and territory, visit http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/states/.

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