September 13, 2021

Missouri’s statewide ‘ShakeOut’ earthquake drill set for Oct. 21

Half a million Missourians expected to participate in ‘Drop, Cover, Hold On’ exercise

Registration is open for the 2021 Great Central U. S. “ShakeOut” earthquake drill on Oct. 21. More than 320,000 people are already registered for this year’s ShakeOut drill, which is designed to remind people how to protect themselves during an earthquake. Missouri is one of 14 participating central U.S. states that could be impacted by a New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquake.

“The devastating Haiti earthquake that left more than 50,000 homeless last month is a reminder of the destructive force of catastrophic earthquakes and that quakes strike without warning,” State Emergency Management Agency Director Jim Remillard said. “Preparedness prior to an earthquake of any size is critical to staying safe. Participating in the ShakeOut drill and practicing now prepares children and adults alike for what to do when shaking starts.”

At exactly 10:21 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 21, participants will practice the “Drop, Cover, Hold On” technique:

  • DROP to your hands and knees;
  • COVER your head and neck with your hands and arms under a table or desk if you can; and
  • HOLD ON until the shaking stops.

Studies show that in developed countries with modern structures, falling debris is the most common source of injuries in an earthquake. Experts advise that when an earthquake occurs in the U.S., the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” technique is the best way to protect yourself and others from falling debris. 

To sign up for the ShakeOut, visit 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 New Madrid Seismic Zone, centered in southeast Missouri, is one of the most active earthquake zones in the country, averaging more than 200 small quakes per year. In 1811 and 1812, this zone produced some of the largest earthquakes in U.S. history. Another major earthquake in this area would be felt not only in Missouri, but throughout the Midwest, and would damage buildings and infrastructure in much of southern and eastern Missouri, including the St. Louis area.

To learn more about earthquakes in Missouri and how to prepare, visit

Editor’s Note: Find ShakeOut graphics and other resources at  


For more information, call 573-751-6294 or e-mail