More than 2 million people across the central United States are expected to take part in an earthquake drill today. The Mexico School District is among 361 Missouri school districts participating.
The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut is a nine-state drill spanning much of the central United States. The drill is being organized by the Central United States Earthquake Consortium, which includes the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Missouri. The preparedness drill was held at 10:15 this morning.
On Wednesday, Missouri had 495,739 signed up to participate.
Steve Shaw, Audrain County Emergency Management director, said, "Recent earthquake events remind us that they can happen anytime and anyplace and they can be very deadly. But there are many important things we can do before, during, and after an earthquake to protect ourselves, our homes, and our families.
"Being prepared is the greatest single act a person, family, business, organization or school can do. Being prepared can and will save your life," Shaw added.
Before an Earthquake
It is important for individuals, families, organizations, and communities to identify their risk, make a plan, create a disaster kit, and remove, relocate, or secure anything that can:
• fall and hurt someone;
• fall and block an exit;
• fall and start a fire;
• require a lengthy or costly clean-up.
During an Earthquake
Drop to the ground; take cover by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and hold on until the shaking stops. If there isn't a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building. Do not run out of the building during the shaking as objects may be falling off the building and cause serious injuries or death.
After an Earthquake
Safely evacuate. Note that aftershocks could happen. These additional shaking events can be strong enough to do additional damage to already weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the main earthquake. Have a professional engineer or local building official inspect the structural integrity of your home and/or building for potential damages.
Small earthquakes and tremors occur frequently in Missouri. Thousands of quakes have been noted in the state since 1795 and have been recorded since 1908. In recent times, earthquakes have been known to rock tall buildings and crack plaster in Missouri homes. Most were accompanied by numerous aftershocks. Geologic studies indicate that large earthquakes occurred within the southeastern Missouri region in approximately 300 AD, 900 AD, and 1400 AD. Lesser quakes of 4.6 or below have occurred in 1990, 1992, 1998 and 2003 in areas ranging from central Missouri to the far southeastern boot heel of Missouri.
The ShakeOut will be a forum to promote the "Drop, Cover and Hold On" promotion that is part of the drill. It is the recommended personal protective action to take in an earthquake. The drill is a two-minute commitment for something that can save a life.
Last year more than 2.5 million people registered to participate nationwide, with more than 450,000 registered in Missouri.
Today is also the 201st anniversary of the last of the 1811-12 earthquakes that destroyed the town of New Madrid, Mo. Scientists, experts and emergency management officials are aware earthquakes similar to, if not greater than, those that struck in 1811-12 could hit Missouri at any time and are taking steps to educate and prepare residents.
"Earthquakes can occur anytime," Shaw said. "This is a great opportunity to educate everyone about earthquakes and the simple steps that Missourians should take to stay as safe as they can in the event of a major earthquake, and I believe all schools should be encouraged to participate. This helps teach the young people and the teachers as well what to do to survive an event of this magnitude. We in the U.S. practice fire drills all the time and there are little to no fire related injuries/deaths in schools, These kind of drills are just as important to be ready, to react, to respond and to recover from earthquakes. "
The SEMA website provides earthquake safety information for schools and the public, including videos demonstrating how to conduct a ShakeOut drill: http://www.sema.dps.mo.gov/earthquake_preparedness/default.asp
Resources for schools can be accessed directly at: http://www.sema.dps.mo.gov/earthquake_preparedness/school_resources.asp
Videos, including a demonstration of how to "Drop, Cover and Hold On," can be accessed directly at: http://www.sema.dps.mo.gov/earthquake_preparedness/earthquake_multimedia.asp