The Great Central US ShakeOut Is More Than an Earthquake Drill

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For Immediate Release: September 30, 2019

Great Central US ShakeOut: More Than an Earthquake Drill


Drop, Cover and Hold On, 10.17.19 at 10:17 a.m.

COLUMBUS, OH – National Preparedness Month may be ending today, but the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA) encourage Ohioans to stay in “preparedness mode” and exercise their emergency plans during the annual Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake drill.

Held annually on the third Thursday in October, the ShakeOut drill will be October 17 at 10:17 a.m. CUSEC notes that schools and businesses can schedule the earthquake drill for a more suitable date and/or time.

“Why is Ohio practicing safety drills for earthquakes? We practice because we have earthquakes,” said Ohio EMA Executive Director Sima Merick. “While the majority of Ohio’s earthquakes fall on the low end of the Richter scale, Lake County experienced a widely felt 4.2 magnitude earthquake this past June. Fortunately, there were no injuries reported.”

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resource’s Division of Geological Survey, Ohio has recorded, to date, six earthquakes this year. Twelve were recorded in 2018.

“It is good to know what to do before, during, and after an earthquake, in the event you travel to another state or country where quakes occur with higher magnitude and frequency,” added Merick.

The actual ShakeOut drill is only one minute long. But it’s the emergency planning and preparation that makes ShakeOut more than an earthquake drill. The Great ShakeOut is intended to get people talking about emergency preparedness and planning for all hazards, including earthquakes, fires, floods, tornadoes, or hazmat incidents.

What do you do during the Great ShakeOut drill? Practice the safest response to an earthquake:

  • DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if it’s nearby. If you have mobility issues, either lock the wheels of your wheelchair or stay seated, and bend over.
  • 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.
  • HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If you are under a table or desk for shelter, hold onto it with one hand and be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts.

There is still time to register to participate. Individuals, schools, businesses, and organizations can easily register online at Earthquake preparedness information and resources are also available on this site. If you registered last year, you need only to confirm/update your information.

Additional earthquake preparedness information is also available at Click on “Earthquakes” in the green menu bar.

To date, more than 2.1 million people have registered to participate in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut.

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