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Registration begins for statewide earthquake drill in February

JEFFERSON CITY – Registration is now open for the third annual “Great Central U. S. ShakeOut” earthquake drill, which will take place at 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 7, 2013. This past February, more than 450,000 Missourians were among 2.4 million people in nine states that took part in the second ShakeOut drill. More than 500 Missouri school districts and individual schools participated in the brief exercise that teaches what to do in the event of an earthquake.

To sign up for the ShakeOut , go to: The site provides links to a variety of earthquake preparedness information. In addition to schools, there are also participant categories for colleges and universities, businesses, non-profit organizations, medical facilities, individuals and families and more.

“This is a great opportunity to educate young people about earthquakes and the simple steps that Missourians should be prepared to take in the event of a major earthquake, and we encourage all schools to participate” said State Emergency Management Director Paul D. Parmenter.

Small earthquakes and tremors occur frequently in Missouri, and a major earthquake could occur at any time. Missouri experienced a 3.9 magnitude earthquake near East Prairie on Feb. 21, 2012. The Feb. 7 ShakeOut is being held on the 201st anniversary of the largest of the great New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-12. Those earthquakes are estimated to have been 7.0 magnitude or greater and led to the destruction of buildings in St. Louis and the formation of Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee. February is also Missouri’s annual Earthquake Awareness Month.

The SEMA Web site provides earthquake safety information for schools and the public, including videos demonstrating how to conduct a ShakeOut drill:

Resources for schools can be accessed directly at:

Videos, including a demonstration of how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On,” can be accessed directly at:

The New Madrid Seismic Zone, which includes parts of southeast Missouri, has produced some of the largest earthquakes ever in the continental U.S. Experts say knowing how to respond when an earthquake occurs is an important step to practice before the next major event occurs.

During the ShakeOut, residents should practice the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” technique for 60 seconds: 

• DROP to the ground;

• Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table; and

• HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

The “Drop, Cover and Hold On” technique is considered the best way to protect yourself in an earthquake.

The states of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee are also participating in the Feb. 7 ShakeOut.

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