Oklahoma City, OK January 29, 2013 — With more than 40 million people living and working in the central United States, a major earthquake could cause unprecedented disruption and devastation. What we do now, before a big earthquake, will determine what our lives will be like afterwards. With earthquakes an inevitable part of our future, we must act quickly to ensure that disasters do not become catastrophes.
Oklahoma is not immune from earthquakes. One occurred near Prague causing widespread damage. The November 2011 magnitude 5.6 earthquake is the strongest ever in Oklahoma. At least 2 people were injured, 14 homes destroyed and many others damaged in the Shawnee-Sparks area. Parts of US Highway 62 between Meeker and Prague buckled by shaking along pre-existing cracks.
This year’s Great Central U.S. ShakeOut will involve more than 1 million people through a broad‐based outreach program, partnership with the media, and public advocacy by hundreds of partners. This event is being organized by the Central United States Earthquake Consortium and the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The ShakeOut will be centered around a simultaneous Drop, Cover, and Hold On drill that will be held at 10:15 AM CDT on February 7. Drop, Cover, and Hold On is the recommended action to take in the event of an earthquake.
“A key aspect of the ShakeOut is the integration of earthquake research and the lessons learned from the social science research about why people get prepared for disasters,” said Mary Jane Coffman, “The ShakeOut creates the sense of urgency that is needed for people, organizations, and communities to get prepared, to practice what to do to be safe, and to learn what plans need to be improved.”
Not just any drill will accomplish this; it needs to be big. It must inspire communities to come together and involve children at school, parents at work and every member of your household.
The 2013 ShakeOut drill will be the largest earthquake preparedness event in central U.S. history. To participate, go to www.shakeout.org/centralus and pledge your family, school, business, or organization’s participation in the drill. Registered participants will receive information on how to plan their drill and how to create a dialogue with others about earthquake preparedness. All organizers ask is that participants register (so they can be counted and receive communications), and at the minimum practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On at the specified time.
The American Red Cross of Central and Western Oklahoma will be holding its earthquake drills at all of the 18 chapter locations. Each office will be partnering with a community groups, business and organizations for this drill across our 47 county regions.
For more information about local ShakeOut activities, contact the Central and Western Oklahoma Region at 405-228-9500. You can learn more about being prepared by visiting redcross.org.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit okc.redcross.org or join our blog at redcrossoklahoma.blogspot.com.