January 30, 2012

More than 390,000 Missourians already registered to participate in statewide earthquake drill on Feb. 7

More than 1.7 million in nine-state region will participate in "Great Central U.S. ShakeOut" on 200th anniversary of Great New Madrid Earthquake

More than 390,000 Missourians are already registered to participate in the state's second statewide earthquake drill on Feb. 7. Missouri is participating in the “Great Central U.S. ShakeOut," a nine-state regional earthquake drill, during which more than 1.7 million people in the Midwest will "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" at the same time – 10:15 a.m.
"I am happy to see so many Missourians participating in this important drill," said Missouri State Emergency Management Agency Director Paul Parmenter. "Unlike other disasters, an earthquake occurs without warning, so it's vital to know what to do ahead of time. The ShakeOut drill is the best way to learn how to protect yourself and your family, and it only takes a minute.”
There is still plenty of time for schools, businesses and families to register and participate in the drill that takes just 60 seconds. Last year almost 500,000 Missourians participated in the first ShakeOut earthquake drill.
Missouri is one of nine states in the New Madrid Seismic Zone that will participate in this drill on the 200th anniversary of the largest earthquake in state history.  The Great New Madrid Earthquake that occurred on February 7, 1812 devastated much of southeast Missouri, briefly reversed the course of the Mississippi River and was felt as far away as the East Coast.
Anyone can register for the ShakeOut at, where you will receive all the information you need for a successful drill.
During the ShakeOut, participants will "Drop, Cover and Hold On" for 60 seconds. Experts say this is the best way to protect yourself during an earthquake, since in the U.S. the primary threat for injury or loss of life is falling debris and toppling objects, like bookcases and heavy electronics, not a structural collapse.
At exactly 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 7, Missourians and people around the central U.S. will:

·     DROP to the ground

·     take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table

·     HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops

The New Madrid Seismic Zone, centered in southeast Missouri, is the nation's most active earthquake zone east of the Rocky Mountains. At least 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 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.

Much more information on the ShakeOut and earthquake preparedness is available from the State Emergency Management Agency. Go to and select Earthquakes in the "How do I prepare for" section for:

·     A three-minute  video showing Missouri fourth graders taking part in a ShakeOut "Drop, Cover, Hold On" drill.

·     A slide show highlighting earthquake history and preparedness in Missouri.

·     A ShakeOut drill manual with instructions for four different levels of drill participation.

·     Many more details on Missouri's earthquake history, geology, and preparedness activities.

Editor's Note:  A dedicated Web site is available for reporters seeking additional resources on the ShakeOut, including video, graphics, and background information. Please visit:


For more information, call 573-751-5432 or e-mail