February has been proclaimed as Earthquake Awareness month as Kentucky continues to prepare for the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut Earthquake Drill, scheduled for Feb. 7. The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut in February 2012 will involve more than 1 million people through a broad‐based outreach program, partnerships with the media and public advocacy, according to a state press release.
This event is being organized by the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) that includes the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee. The ShakeOut will be centered around a simultaneous Drop, Cover and Hold On drill that will be held 10:15 a.m. CDT on Feb. 7.
Drop, Cover and Hold On is the easy‐to-remember and recommended personal protective action to take in the event of an earthquake.
Feb. 7 is also the 200th anniversary of the last of the 1811‐12 earthquakes that destroyed the town of New Madrid, Mo. and created Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee.
Scientists, experts and emergency management officials are aware earthquakes similar to, if not greater than, those that struck in 181 –12 could hit Kentucky anywhere, at any time and are taking steps to educate and prepare Kentuckians, and others alike.
“Unlike the weather, earthquakes cannot be predicted,” John Heltzel, director of Kentucky Emergency Management, said. “An earthquake similar to those our region experienced in 181 –12 could truly be catastrophic today and that is why we should take time now to educate ourselves and practice this drill in order to better protect ourselves and lessen that impact.”
The 2012 ShakeOut drill will follow on the success of the 2011 drill, where more than 3 million people, businesses and organizations participated in the largest preparedness event in central U.S. history. More than 357,000 registered from Kentucky and officials hope that number is increased this year.
Interested participants are encouraged to go to www.shakeout.org/centralus and pledge their 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 dialogue with others about earthquake preparedness.
The Drop, Cover and Hold On drill is a two-minute commitment for something that can save your life. It all begins with registering, which is free and open to everyone.
Individuals and their families can take the following steps to prepare for earthquakes:
Know and practice the Drop, Cover and Hold On drill
Get an emergency supply kit
Make a family communications plan
Stay informed of the risks in your community
Check for hazards in the home
Identify safe places indoors and outdoors
Educate yourself and family members.
For more information on the ShakeOut and to register visit www.shakeout.org/centralus or www.kyem.ky.gov. Both websites offer useful resources and a short video demonstrating the Drop, Cover and Hold On drill.