Get Ready for Thursday’s ShakeOut Earthquake Drills

ShakeOut drills scheduled for Oct. 16 will prepare schools and communities for potential earthquake risks.

Get ready to ShakeOut and join more than 25 million people in a worldwide earthquake drill on Oct. 16. You can join the USGS drill by registering to participate and practicing how you will protect yourself, your loved ones and your community during an earthquake. Click here to register.

During the drill, participants practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” This is the recommended safety action to take during an earthquake.

What to Do During the Drill

The ShakeOut drill begins at 10:16 am local time. If you are indoors, you should “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” Drop to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to it securely. If you are not near a desk or table, drop to the floor against an interior wall, then protect your head and neck with your arms. Avoid exterior walls, windows, hanging objects, mirrors, tall furniture, large appliances, and kitchen cabinets filled with heavy objects or glass.

While on the ground, look around and see what objects could fall during a potential earthquake, and make sure to secure or move those items after the drill.

If you happen to be outdoors, move to a clear and open area if you can do so. Avoid power lines, trees, signs, buildings, vehicles, and other items that can fall on you. If you are driving, pull over to the side of the road and set the parking brake. Do not stop under bridges, overpasses, power lines, or traffic signs. If you were in a real earthquake, make sure to remain inside the vehicle until the shaking has stopped.

The ShakeOut began in California in 2008 and has since spread to other states and regions and now internationally as well. The first Central U.S. ShakeOut was held in 2011, and the first SouthEast ShakeOut in 2012. This year 47 states and U.S. territories, and several other countries, are officially involved. People and organizations in all other states and countries can also register their drills through the ShakeOut site.

If you want to find out how intense ground shaking could be from an earthquake near you, check out the recently released 2014 USGS National Seismic Hazard Maps. The maps reflect the best and most current understanding of where future earthquakes will occur, how often they will occur, and how hard the ground will likely shake as a result.

Think an Earthquake Won’t Strike Your Community? Think Again.
In 2011, a magnitude 5.8 earthquke struck Louisa County, Va., damaging the Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. Just recently, the school has re-opened. Watch this video to see how the students responded during the quake. A USGS official also discusses current research on understanding seismic hazards and making preparendess decisions.

Click here to register for Thursday’s ShakeOut.

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