ShakeOut Earthquake Drill

(BENTON, ILLINOIS) — Following “National Preparedness Month” in September, individuals and communities throughout Franklin County will participate in the Great Central US ShakeOut earthquake drill. 

Held annually on the third Thursday of October, the International ShakeOut Day is set for Thursday, October 18, 2018.  During the self-led drill, participants practice how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” at exactly 10:18 AM.

Endorsed by emergency management officials and first responders, the safe response to an earthquake is to:

DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby.

COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand

  • If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter
  • If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows)
  • Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs

HOLD ON until shaking stops

  • Under shelter: hold on to it with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts
  • No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

The April 2015 M7.8 Nepal earthquake and M8.3 September 16, 2015 earthquake near Illapel, Chile serve as reminders that large earthquakes can occur with little to no warning.  Citizens in Southern Illinois are not immune to earthquakes—the region is home to several active seismic zones capable of producing damaging earthquakes, including the New Madrid and Wabash Valley Seismic Zones.

According to Director of Emergency Management Ryan M. Buckingham, “Damaging earthquakes can occur at any time with no warning, and it is vital that you Drop, Cover, and Hold to protect yourself when the shaking starts". Buckingham also suggests taking steps in your home or business to mitigate the risk of damage and injury from an earthquake. "Taking time to perform earthquake mitigation steps such as securing heavy furniture that can overturn, or strapping down your hot water heater can prevent injuries and damage during a large earthquake" added the Director. 

The ShakeOut Earthquake Drill is free and open-to-the-public, and participants include individuals, schools, businesses, local and state government agencies, and many other groups.  To take part in the ShakeOut, individuals and organizations are asked to join the drill by registering to participate Once registered, participants receive regular information on how to plan their drill and become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters.

To date, 2.4 million people are registered to participate in this regional event, however Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills will also occur throughout the nation and in several countries worldwide.  More than 35 million people around the globe are expected to participate; and in addition to safety drills, many participants take extra steps to become more prepared for earthquakes or other disasters.