FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 6, 2013) - Thursday, Feb. 7, at 11:15 a.m. Eastern time, as part of Earthquake Awareness Month in Kentucky, everyone is encouraged to participate in the "Drop, Cover and Hold On" Earthquake Safety Drill as part of the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, and register participation at: http://www.shakeout.org/centralus/register/ .
The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, which is an annual, region-wide earthquake drill, is organized by the Central U. S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) which includes the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. The ShakeOut is centered on a simultaneous "Drop, Cover and Hold On" earthquake safety drill which allows individuals, schools, organizations and governments the opportunity to practice the drill.
Last year more than 2.4 million participated in the drill, with Kentucky having 429,919 registered participations. Currently more than 2.7 million have registered for this year's drill, with more than a half-million from Kentucky.
Feb. 7 is also the 201st anniversary of the last of the 1811-12 earthquakes that destroyed the town of New Madrid, Mo., created Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee and impacted parts of Kentucky.
"Unlike storms, such as Hurricane Sandy, earthquakes are unpredictable and experts are unable to forecast when one might occur," said John Heltzel, director of Kentucky Emergency Management. "This is why it is so important to know in advance how to mitigate risks and the proper safety actions to take, such as "Drop, Cover and Hold On," when an earthquake does occur."
Scientists, experts and emergency management officials are aware earthquakes similar to those that struck 201 years ago could hit Kentucky anywhere, at any time, and are taking steps to educate and prepare Kentuckians and others.
Individuals and their families can take the following steps to prepare for earthquakes:
* Know and practice the Drop, Cover and Hold On drill
* Get an emergency supply kit
* Make a family communications plan
* Stay informed of the risks in your community
* Check for hazards in the home
* Identify safe places indoors and outdoors
* Educate yourself and family members
Other Earthquake Awareness Month activities include a poster contest promoting earthquake awareness for all elementary students, a public service video contest for all high school students and a Teachers' Earthquake Toolkit to help instruct elementary students to be better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters.
The Kentucky Earthquake Program is overseen by Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM). Additional information on the drill, contests, teachers' toolkit and other earthquake awareness resources can be found at http://kyem.ky.gov/programs/Pages/Earthquake.aspx.
Kentuckians who participate in the ShakeOut can go to the KYEM website and complete a short, one-minute survey on their participation. Information gathered will be used to better conduct future preparedness drills and communications.
For more information on the ShakeOut, visit www.shakeout.org/centralus . Both websites offer useful resources and a short video demonstrating the Drop, Cover and Hold On drill.