Shake OutFollowing FEMA’s “National Preparedness Month” in September, individuals and communities throughout California will participate in the annual Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill. Held annually on the third Thursday of October, the ShakeOut International Day of Action is set for Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 10:20 a.m. 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 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 the central U.S. 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.

While damaging earthquakes here may be fewer in number when compared to other areas, they can occur at any time wherever we work, live, or travel within the region and beyond. Everyone, everywhere should know how to protect themselves from an earthquake.

The 2016 ShakeOut drill will be the largest preparedness event in world history. To participate, go to and pledge your family, school, business, or organization’s participation in the drill. Registered participants will receive information on how to plan their drill and involve others. At the minimum practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” at the specified time, which is 10/20 at 10:20 a.m. this year. It is only a one-minute commitment for something that can save your life.

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