State Emergency Management Agency News Release

JEREMIAH W. (JAY) NIXON, GOVERNOR

Contact:

PAUL PARMENTER, SEMA DIRECTOR

News Release ID: N09110128

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JEFFERSON CITY

December 13, 2011

Almost 100 Missouri school districts and schools are registered for Feb. 7 statewide earthquake drill

Dec. 16 is 200th anniversary of first of the Great New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-12

Almost 100 Missouri school districts and individual schools have already registered to take part in Missouri's second statewide earthquake drill at 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 7, 2012. A total of more than 146,000 Missourians are now registered to participate in the drill, called the "Great Central U.S. ShakeOut," which will be held in Missouri and seven other Midwest states.

"Almost 450,000 Missourians took part in the first ShakeOut earthquake drill on April 28, 2011, learning exactly what they should do if a major earthquake hits," said State Emergency Management Agency Director Paul Parmenter. "An earthquake is an event that comes without warning and, because many Missourians live in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, it is very important to be able to react immediately to protect yourself and your family.”

The New Madrid Seismic Zone, centered in southeast Missouri, is the nation's most active earthquake zone east of the Rocky Mountains. Three of the largest earthquakes in the continental United States occurred in the region from1811-12. The largest of the quakes was centered in New Madrid and occurred on Feb. 7, 1812. The ShakeOut earthquake drill is being held on the 200th anniversary of this earthquake. The first of the three largest quakes occurred on Dec. 16, 1811.

The earthquakes altered the flow of the Mississippi River, turned rich farmland into fields of sand and destroyed countless structures. People on the East Coast of the United States felt shaking and church bells reportedly rang as far away as South Carolina.

During the ShakeOut, Missourians will "Drop, Cover and Hold On” for 60 seconds. Experts says this is the best way to protect  yourself during an earthquake, since in the U.S. the primary threat for most people in an earthquake is falling debris and toppling objects, like book cases and heavy electronics, not structural collapse.

  At 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 7, Missourians and people around the Midwest will:
·    DROP to the ground
·    Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
·    HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops

All Missourians are encouraged to participate by registering at http://shakeout.org/centralus/.

The Great New Madrid Earthquakes were followed by aftershocks that continued for more than two years. More than 2,000 shocks were felt at least 180 miles away from their epicenters.

For more information on Missouri earthquake history, geology and other resources, visit the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency's Earthquake Preparedness page – http://www.sema.dps.mo.gov/Earthquake_Preparedness/default.asp

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For more information, call (573) 751-4819 or e-mail mike.oconnell@dps.mo.gov