On February 7, nine states across the central United States. will participate in The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut. The American Red Cross will participate in the second annual public earthquake drill, organized and coordinated by the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium and its Member and Associate States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Geological Survey, and dozens of other partners.
At 11:15 a.m. ET on February 7, the National Weather Service will send a tone-alert to the NOAA Weather Radio and the radio to tell those listening to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” Participate in The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut and practice what to do when an earthquake occurs.
If you are inside when the shaking starts:
- Drop, cover and hold on.
- If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on. Protect your head with a pillow.
- Stay away from windows to avoid being injured by shattered glass.
- Stay indoors until the shaking stops and it is safe to exit. Use stairs to exit the building rather than an elevator.
- Be aware that fire alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire.
If you are outside when the shaking starts:
- Find a clear spot away from buildings, power lines, trees and streetlights and drop to the ground until the shaking stops.
- If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible. Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops.
- If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
- If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.
Earthquakes from Haiti to Japan and even here at home have broadened our perception of disaster over the past few years. These disasters struck suddenly, without warning.
While most Americans think of California and the West Coast as the most susceptible areas in the United States for an earthquake, in August of last year, communities up and down the East Coast trembled from an unknown fault line located in rural Virginia. What would you do if your building started to shake? Would you know where to go? Would you know what to do?
With the unpredictable nature of earthquakes, the Red Cross encourages you to always be ready. Thankfully, while the shaking was felt from the Carolinas to Canada, there were few related injuries or damages. The East Coast quake serves as a reminder that the majority of states and territories in every region of the country are at moderate to very high risk for an earthquake to occur.
To help your business, school or other organization better prepare for emergencies such as earthquakes, the Red Cross offers the Ready Rating Program, a free, self-paced, web-based membership program that helps measure how ready organizations are to deal with emergencies, and gives customized feedback on how they can improve their efforts.
Earthquakes can occur during the day or at night, in any season of the year. To learn more about how to be Red Cross Ready, visit our Earthquake Safety Checklist.