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FEMA Drill Next Week SE USA
October 14, 2012  FEMA Release Number: R3-12-16
On Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 10:18 am EDT, more than one million people across 5 states and the District of Columbia are scheduled to take part in the first ever Great SouthEast ShakeOut.  The ShakeOut is a regional earthquake drill in which participants simultaneously practice the recommended action during an earthquake.  This action is known as “Drop, Cover, and Hold On”, which means:
•DROP to the ground
•Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
•HOLD-ON to it until the shaking stops

The states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia are encouraging their schools, businesses, organizations, government agencies, communities, and households to participate in this historic event.  These states are being supported by the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC,, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA,, and many other local, state, federal and volunteer partners. CUSEC coordinates a similar drill across nine Central U.S. states, which had more than 2.4 million participants in February, 2012.

This regional earthquake drill comes on the heels of the one year anniversary of the August 23, 2011 M5.9 Mineral, Virginia earthquake. Last year’s earthquake caused significant damage in Louisa County, Virginia, and also millions of dollars in damages in Washington, D.C.  The event is free and open-to-the-public, and teaches easy to do, yet potentially life-saving information.

FEMA Region III Acting Regional Administrator Robert Welch is encouraging individuals and organizations to register and join the Great ShakeOut “We were reminded last year that earthquakes can and do happen anywhere.  Everyone should make plans and take actions to ensure that disasters do not become catastrophes and this drill is an excellent start.”

Collectively, there are more than 10.5 million people worldwide who are expected to participate in the ShakeOut drills October 18, which makes this the largest safety drill ever held.  Interested citizens, schools, communities, businesses, etc. are encouraged to visit to pledge their participation in the drill. On the website, many resources are available for participants to use to plan their drills including drill manuals, videos, audio drill broadcasts, earthquake scenarios, and more.

There are many ways for individuals, businesses, schools, faith-based organizations, community groups, scouts, and others to participate in the ShakeOut, to get prepared for earthquakes, and to share activities with others.  For more information on the ShakeOut or how to participate in the drill, visit

Several real disasters have occurred during 'drills'

4.6 earthquake in MAINE
October 16, 2012
 4.6 earthquake in Main reberating thru New England
Live blog: 4.5 earthquake hits southwest of Lake Arrowhead, Maine
A 4.5-magnitude earthquake hit southwest of Lake Arrowhead, Maine, at approximately 7:12 p.m. tonight.  Lake Arrowhead is about 30 miles west of Portland. The quake was felt in the Boston area and southern New England.
Some phone lines down.
Heard and felt rumbling for around 10-20 seconds

Great Shakeout: California Prepares For Powerful Earthquakes
By Becky Oskin, OurAmazingPlanet Staff Writer | – 3 hrs ago


Most people create their own earthquake hazards.

When a quake hits, the first instinct for many is to run outdoors or huddle in a doorway. But as hundreds of YouTube videos prove, powerful earthquakes send furniture and glass flying and fracture buildings, raining down debris.

Instead, experts say the safest place during a big earthquake is under a desk or table, where you can drop, cover and hold on.

"If you think back to big earthquakes around the world, the people who survived were those who were underneath something that protected them from debris falling down on them," said Steve Walter, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif. Tomorrow (Oct. 1Cool more than 9 million California residents plan to practice dropping and covering at 10:18 a.m. PDT, during the Great American Shakeout.

Golden State Shakeout

In all, more than 14 million people are expected to participate in the 60-second exercise, including along the Pacific coast of Alaska and British Columbia. This year marks the first time the Shakeout will be observed in parts of the eastern United States (where people also will drop and cover at 10:18 local time – a time of day picked to coincide with the date).

"This provides a once-a-year reminder that we live in areas that can be strongly shaken at any time," Walter told OurAmazingPlanet.

The event aims to raise awareness among residents with little firsthand experience of powerful quakes, and to correct misperceptions about what to do when the ground trembles.

Leading up to the Shakeout, local, state and federal agencies will practice responding to a magnitude 7.6 shaker on the San Andreas Fault today, the anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, which killed dozens of people in the San Francisco area.

People underestimate the power of earthquakes, Shakeout organizers say. While earthquake intensity depends on myriad conditions, even a relatively small event of magnitude 6.3 can produce waves more powerful than the force of gravity. The waves can knock you off your feet and make it impossible to walk. The intense back-and-forth motions will cause the floor or the ground to jerk sideways out from under you, and every unsecured object could topple, fall or become airborne. [Video – What Does Earthquake 'Magnitude' Mean?]

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