01/30/12 Nine states across the central U.S. will participate in The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 10:15 a.m. CST.  This second annual central U.S. ShakeOut is a public earthquake drill organized and coordinated by the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium and its Member and Associate States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Geological Survey, and dozens of other partners.  FEMA is encouraging everyone across the central United States to participate in the event, including schools, businesses, governments and other organizations.

“Everyone has a role in disaster preparedness, and drills like this one offer a valuable opportunity for all levels of government, non-profit and faith-based organizations, the private sector, and the public to put their preparedness plans into action,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.  “Participating in this drill, putting together a disaster preparedness plan and building a kit are simple steps that everyone can take.”

You only have seconds to react to an earthquake, so it’s important to know what to do when the grounds starts shaking.  On Feb. 7, you can practice the following:

• DROP to the ground,

• Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

The drill will start at 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 7, when the National Weather Service sends a tone-alert to the NOAA Weather Radio, and the radio will tell those listening to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.”

Devastating earthquakes in Japan, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile, are powerful evidence of how destructive natural disasters can be, and that they can strike without any warning.  Scientists estimate the probability of a magnitude 6.0 or larger earthquake occurring along the New Madrid Seismic Zone within any 50 year period is 25-40 percent.  It is as important as ever to strengthen our nation’s disaster resilience across the country, and the ShakeOut is a great opportunity to do so.

Anyone who has not already joined us, is encouraged to register for the ShakeOut at www.shakeout.org/centralus.  The ShakeOut is free, open to the general public, and anyone can get more information or register to participate by visiting www.shakeout.org/centralus.

For more information on earthquake preparedness tips, visit www.ready.gov.