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.
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 a.m. CDT on April 28. 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 social science research about why people get prepared for disasters,” said Paul Myers, PhD, preparedness expert for the American Red Cross. “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 2011 ShakeOut drill will be the largest earthquake preparedness event in Central U.S. history. Events are happening nationwide, including an event in St. Louis, Mo., that Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and American Red Cross St. Louis Area Regional Executive Cindy Erickson are scheduled to attend.
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.
You and your household members can learn more about how to prepare for earthquakes and what to do during and after an earthquake strikes by visiting redcross.org and downloading the Earthquake Safety Checklist.