While the earth may not move Oct. 17, officials are asking Mississippians to pretend that it does.
Mississippi is one of 10 states taking part in the fourth Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake drill, which will begin at 10:17 a.m. During the drill, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) says millions of people will simultaneously practice the recommended response to an earthquake by following the recommended steps: Drop, cover and hold on.
Mississippi is located on the New Madrid fault system, which was responsible for the 1811-1812 New Madrid earthquakes and still has the potential to produce large earthquakes. Since 1812, frequent smaller earthquakes have been recorded in the area, including one in the Memphis area just last year.
“Whether you’re working to protect your family and friends, or your business or school, this is a great opportunity to practice with millions of other Americans on how to handle a hazard we’re somewhat unfamiliar with, largely due to its infrequency,” said MEMA executive director Robert Latham.
Scientists estimate that there is a 25 to 40 percent probability of a damaging earthquake occurring in the central U.S. within a 50-year window of time. The ShakeOut is designed to help individuals and communities get ready for these earthquakes, practice how to protect themselves, and to prevent disasters from becoming catastrophes.
Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma and Tennessee are participating in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, but the Great Shakeout is a nationwide drill.
More than 185,000 Mississippians and 16.2 million people nationwide are registered to participate in the drills Oct. 17. During the ShakeOut drill, participants perform a variety of disaster safety activities, including practicing the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” tactic, testing emergency procedures, updating disaster supply kits and securing items that may fall or cause injury during an earthquake.
The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut is coordinated by the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium and its Member and Associate States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey and dozens of partners. The goal of the program is to engage participants to take steps to become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters.
To participate in the ShakeOut, visit MEMA’s website at www.msema.org, and click on the ShakeOut button on the front page, or visit the ShakeOut website directly at www.shakeout.org/centralus. There is no cost to participate, and individuals, families, faith based organizations, businesses and schools are encouraged to take part in this preparedness opportunity.
On the website, many resources are available for participants to use during the ShakeOut drill including drill manuals, audio and video drill broadcasts, earthquake scenarios and more.