Millions will “Drop, Cover and Hold on” in biggest emergency exercise in Illinois and U.S. history

October 14, 2014

IEMA Encourages Illinois Residents to Register for 'The Great Shakeout'  Earthquake Drill in October

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) today urged Illinoisans to participate in the 4th Annual Great ShakeOut earthquake drill at 10:16 a.m., on Thursday, October 16. It is expected to be the largest earthquake drill in the history of Illinois and the United States.

“An earthquake can strike anywhere, at any time. The Great ShakeOut is designed to help residents think about what to do before, during and after an earthquake,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “The Great ShakeOut is an effective way for schools, businesses, families and others to practice the life-saving ‘Drop, Cover and Hold On’ procedures.”

Governor Pat Quinn has proclaimed October 16 as “Great ShakeOut Day” across Illinois, calling this drill “an effective, grass-roots approach to emergency planning” which has “helped millions of people understand what to do if the ground starts shaking.”

Individuals, schools, businesses and others can register for the Great ShakeOut at www.shakeout.org/centralus, where participants will find expert advice about earthquake preparedness, engaging videos and resource materials. It only takes a minute to register online in the Great ShakeOut and just seconds to participate in the drill itself, but the lessons could make a life-or-death difference. The drill focuses on the protective actions people should take when a quake begins:

“Drop” to the floor;
take “Cover” under a sturdy desk or table, and
“Hold On” until the shaking stops.
 
Illinois has participated in ShakeOut drills since 2011. Last year, 523,000 Illinoisans took part in the exercise. To date, nearly 530,000 Illinoisans have registered for the upcoming event, along with more than 25 million others in 39 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Italy.

The largest earthquake ever to rattle North America occurred in 1811 in New Madrid, Missouri. If a similar quake struck the same spot today, the impact would be catastrophic and result in many fatalities and injuries, as well as severe damage or destruction to the region’s hospitals, roads, bridges, fuel pipelines and water infrastructure.     

Most of southern Illinois sits atop one of two major fault zones - the New Madrid Seismic Zone and Wabash Valley Seismic Zone - but earthquakes have been felt throughout the state.

In recent years, Illinois has been slammed by natural calamities: floods, tornadoes, drought and blizzards. On IEMA’s website - www.Ready.Illinois.gov - residents can find tips for emergency planning, such as building a survival kit, creating escape routes and family reunification plans, and caring for pets.​