Get Ready to Shake Out Again with the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut

Yahoo Contributor Network

It's that time again -- time for residents living in the central United States to participate in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut. The ShakeOut is an earthquake drill and is designed to encourage earthquake preparedness among citizens and instill the best practices in case of an earthquake.

According to the 2011 ShakeOut report on the ShakeOut website, the 2011 event held on April 28 was expected to have more than 3 million participants in 11 states. Due to real-life disasters (storms, tornadoes and floods) in several areas, ShakeOut drills were rescheduled for different dates for some organizations and towns.

* The ShakeOut is a means of raising awareness about earthquake preparation and safety before, during and after an earthquake.

* The 2012 Great Central U.S. ShakeOut will be held at 10:15 a.m. on February 7.

* February 7, 2012 is the 200 year anniversary of the third (and strongest) of the great New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-1812 that struck the central U.S. That quake is believed to have been 7.7 in magnitude.

* There are eight states that make up the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) and are part of the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut. They are Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Alabama.

* Three more states are considered associate states of CUSEC and will also be participating in the ShakeOut on February 7. Those states are Oklahoma, Georgia and South Carolina.

* The 2011 event was the first ShakeOut held in the central part of the United States.

* In the U.S., the ShakeOut was first held in southern California in 2008 in an effort to raise public awareness about earthquake preparedness.

* In 2008, the concept of the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut was put forth as a means of observing the bicentennial of the great New Madrid earthquakes, with original plans to hold the first drill on February 7, 2012. It was decided to hold the drill earlier, in October 2011 and further plans moved the first ShakeOut drill up to April in order to precede the National Level Exercise in May 2011. The NLE was a drill that played out the scenario of a major earthquake in the New Madrid region.

* The ShakeOut encourages people to practice the safest actions in the event of an earthquake. Those actions are drop, cover and hold on. ShakeOut resources attempt to dispel outdated and unsafe practices such as standing in a doorway, running out of a building or the "triangle of life" as proper methods of reacting to and staying safe during an earthquake. The principle of "drop, cover and hold on" is the best and safest action during an earthquake. Drop down, take cover under something sturdy such as a table, and hold on to the object you are taking cover under.

* Participants can be more information and register for the 2012 ShakeOut on the ShakeOut website - shakeout.org/centralus/

Tammy Lee Morris is certified as a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and is a trained Skywarn Stormspotter through the National Weather Service. She has received interpretive training regarding the New Madrid Seismic Zone through EarthScope -- a program of the National Science Foundation. She researches and writes about earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes, weather and other natural phenomena.

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