Missourians practice ‘Drop, Cover, Hold On’ during exercise that drew more than one-half million participants in 2016

Registration is open for the 2017 Great Central U. S. “ShakeOut” earthquake drill on Oct. 19. More than 550,000 Missourians participated in last year’s ShakeOut, which teaches people how to protect themselves during an earthquake. More than 300,000 are already registered for this year’s drill. Missouri is one of 14 participating central U.S. states that could be impacted by a New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquake.

“The ShakeOut is an important drill for Missourians’ safety, because earthquakes occur without warning,” State Emergency Management Agency Director Ernie Rhodes said. “It’s essential that people know what to do immediately as an earthquake hits, and that means learning to drop, cover, and hold on.”

At exactly 10:19 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 19, participants will:

DROP to their hands and knees;

COVER their heads and necks with their hands and arms under a table or desk if possible; and

HOLD ON until the shaking stops.

Experts say “Drop, Cover, Hold On” is the best way to protect oneself from falling debris, which is the most likely cause of injury during an earthquake in developed nations with modern building standards.

More than 400 schools registered over 400,000 students and staff to participate in last year’s ShakeOut, which had a total of more than 550,000 participants.

To sign up for the ShakeOut, visit www.shakeout.org/centralus. Schools, businesses, community organizations or any other group can register, in addition to families and individuals. Once registered, participants receive regular updates on the drill, as well as information on earthquake preparedness and safety. The ShakeOut website also contains many resources, including manuals, videos, audio drill broadcasts and earthquake scenarios.

In 1811 and 1812, the New Madrid Seismic Zone, centered in southeast Missouri, produced some of the largest earthquakes in U.S. history. A major earthquake in this area could result in damage in much of southern and eastern Missouri, including the St. Louis area.

To learn more about earthquakes in Missouri and how to prepare, visit www.sema.dps.mo.gov/earthquake_preparedness.