Great Central Shake Out: are you prepared? Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 October 2017
By Troy Carney
Special to GUIDON

Millions of people worldwide will practice how to Drop, Cover, and Hold On at 10:19 a.m. Oct. 19 during the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills. The ShakeOut was organized to encourage you, your community, your school and your organization to review and update emergency preparedness plans and supplies, and to secure your space in order to prevent damage and injuries.

In the past 25 years, scientists have learned that strong earthquakes in the central Mississippi Valley are not freak events, but have occurred repeatedly in the geologic past. The area of major earthquake activity also has frequent minor shocks and is known as the New Madrid Seismic Zone. The NMSZ is made up of several thrust faults that stretch from Marked Tree, Arkansas, to Cairo, Illinois.
Courtesy graphic

Earthquakes in the central or eastern United States affect much larger areas than earthquakes of similar magnitude in the western United States. For example, the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, with a magnitude of 7.8, was felt 350 miles away in the middle of Nevada, whereas the New Madrid earthquake of December 1811, rang church bells in Boston, Massachusetts, 1,000 miles away. Differences in geology east and west of the Rocky Mountains cause this strong contrast.

We all must get better prepared for major earthquakes and practice how to protect ourselves when they happen. The purpose of the ShakeOut is to help people and organizations do both. You could be anywhere when an earthquake strikes: at home, at work, at school or even on vacation.

On Oct. 19, Fort Leonard Wood will participate in its seventh Great Central U.S. ShakeOut Drill. The installation’s on-post populace will respond to mass notification and warning system activation by taking appropriate earthquake protective actions. Five minutes later, the “All Clear” will be sent out through mass notification to simulate the end of the earthquake and personnel accountability for everyone will be completed.

Earthquake immediate actions:

Drop to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!)

Take cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table.

Hold on to your shelter and be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops.

Indoor protective actions:

If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.  Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture. Use a doorway for shelter only if it is near you and if you know it is a strongly supported, load bearing doorway.

Stay inside until shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Most injuries during earthquakes occur when people are hit by falling objects when entering or exiting buildings. Do not use the elevators.

Outdoor protective actions:
Stay outdoors, move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires. If you are driving, pull over in a clear area and stay in your vehicle.

For additional information or questions, call Troy Carney at 573.563.7909, or visit:

(Editor’s note: Carney is an Emergency Management specialist at Fort Leonard Wood.)
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 October 2017 )