…do they know something?
The Department of Emergency Management of six southeastern states are coordinating and participating in the largest earthquake drill, ever, in the southeast United States. October 18, 10:18 AM. Participants will include schools and universities, the federal government, state and local government, businesses, healthcare, and many other organizations.
The goal of the drill is how to be safer during big earthquakes: “Drop, Cover and Hold On.” The ShakeOut has also been organized to encourage the individual, the community, schools, and organizations to review and update emergency preparedness plans and supplies, and to secure space in order to prevent damage and injuries.
The main message:
DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.
How often do we hear of earthquakes in the southeast U.S.? Not very.
Having said that, many of us recall the strong earthquake of August 23, 2011 when a magnitude 5.8 struck and startled tens of millions of people in the eastern U.S. and southeastern Canada by sudden ground shaking in central Virginia, which was felt strongly throughout much of the east coast.
Take a look at this map of east coast earthquakes since 1974 greater than magnitude 3.
More than you thought??
Here’s another tip… The main point is to not try to move but to immediately protect yourself as best as possible where you are. Earthquakes occur without any warning and may be so violent that you cannot run or crawl; you therefore will most likely be knocked to the ground where you happen to be. You will never know if the initial jolt will turn out to be start of the big one. You should Drop, Cover, and Hold On immediately!
Studies of injuries and deaths caused by earthquakes in the U.S. over the last several decades indicate that you are much more likely to be injured by falling or flying objects (TVs, lamps, glass, bookcases, etc.) than to die in a collapsed building. Drop, Cover, and Hold On offers the best overall level of protection in most situations.
Having lived in California earthquake country for 15 years (I no longer live there…) I can tell you that when an earthquake starts, you have NO TIME to do anything like run out of the building, get to a doorway (not recommended), etc.. It comes on immediately and the best you can do at that point is to be aware of ‘stuff’ flying off the walls and/or other items tipping over in your vicinity. Taking immediate cover, in place, is the best you can do.
Knowing that earthquakes can happen east of the Mississippi (where most of the U.S. population lives), is even more reason to be prepared for disaster and interruption of our current supply chains of distribution, power outages, etc. If you want to scare yourself further, check out the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which has produced the largest earthquakes in the United States. If this were to unleash again today, it would be devastating to millions upon millions of people. Hint: It’s not on the west coast…
The thing about earthquakes and other geo-physical disasters is that the timeline for major events is slow. However, when they do happen, they are often entirely unexpected and SUDDEN. At that point, it’s too late to prepare. Think about it…