SPRINGFIELD – On Oct. 19 at 10:19 a.m., millions of people in the U.S. and around the globe will take a few minutes to practice three simple actions that could save their lives during a major earthquake. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and municipal and county emergency management agencies are encouraging Illinois residents to drop, cover and hold on during The Great ShakeOut earthquake drill.
“Earthquakes occur without warning, so it’s important to know what to do as soon as you feel the earth shake,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “With two seismic zones in southern Illinois and residents who travel throughout the world, it’s important that everyone knows how to stay safe during an earthquake. The drill takes only a few minutes, but the lessons learned could save your life.”
The Great ShakeOut drill centers around the drop, cover and hold on actions: drop down to the ground, take cover under a table or other piece of heavy furniture, and then hold on until the shaking stops.
In October 2016, nearly 500,000 Illinoisans took part in the ShakeOut drill. To date, more than 300,000 people in Illinois are registered for this year’s event.
Some of the most powerful earthquakes to ever occur in the U.S. happened in the winter of 1811-12 in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which reaches into southwestern Illinois. That series of earthquakes lasted for several months and shaking was felt as far away as the East Coast. A similar earthquake today could cause catastrophic damage in a region that is much more developed and populated than in the early 1800s.
Schools, businesses, government agencies, families and others can register to participate in the drill at www.shakeout.org/centralus. Registered participants will receive additional information about the drill and earthquake preparedness. While the international drill will take place on Oct. 19, individual drills can be conducted anytime within two weeks of that date.
Additional information about the earthquake risk in Illinois and steps to take before, during and after an earthquake is available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.