Great ShakeOut reminds others to 'Drop, cover and hold on' during quake

Thursday, October 19, 2017

SIKESTON -- Some local schools weren't in session Thursday due to parent-teacher conferences or fall breaks. Of those schools that were in session, many took part in the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill.

Held annually on the third Thursday of October, the ShakeOut International Day of Action took place at 10:19 a.m. Thursday. During the self-led drill, participants practice how to "Drop, Cover and Hold On."

Endorsed by emergency officials and first responders, the safe response to an earthquake is to: Drop to the ground; Cover your head and neck with both arms and crawl under a sturdy desk or table if possible; and hold on to your shelter until the shaking stops.

More than 50 million people around the globe were expected to participate in Thursday's drill; and in addition to safety drills, many will take extra steps to become better prepared for earthquakes or other disasters

The recent 7.1-magnitude earthquake that struck near Mexico City serves as a reminder that large, damaging earthquakes can occur with little to no warning.

Southeast Missouri residents and citizens in the central and eastern states are not immune to earthquake activity--in 1811-12, at least three earthquakes struck near New Madrid. Were these earthquakes to occur today, there would be widespread injuries, death and property loss, according to the GreatShakeOut.

Scientists estimate there is a 25 to 40 percent probability of a damaging earthquake occurring in the central U.S. within any 50-year window of time. The ShakeOut is designed to help individuals and communities in the region get ready for damaging earthquakes, practice how to protect themselves and to prevent disasters from becoming catastrophes.

If there isn't a table or desk near you, drop to the ground and then if possible move to an inside corner of the building. Be in a crawling position to protect your vital organs and be ready to move if necessary, and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms. Do not try to run to another room just to get under a table--you are more likely to be injured if you try to move around during strong shaking, according to the Great ShakeOut.

These are general guidelines for most situations. Depending on where someone is (in bed, driving, in a theater, etc.), they might take other actions.

However, the main point is: Immediately protect one's self as best as possible where they are. Do not move to another location. Earthquakes occur without any warning and may be so violent that someone cannot run or crawl and may likely knock them to the ground where you happen to be.

Once individuals an others are safe, they should begin the recovery process right away, the Great ShakeOut said. Those who have an earthquake insurance policy with your homeowners or renters insurance and have suffered any property damage, should contact their insurance provider for assistance and to file claims.

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