August 31, 2020

Missouri’s statewide ‘ShakeOut’ earthquake drill set for Oct. 15

Hundreds of thousands of Missourians expected to participate in ‘Drop, Cover, Hold On’ exercise

Registration is now open for the 2020 Great Central U. S. “ShakeOut” earthquake drill on Oct. 15. More than one-half million Missourians participated in last year’s ShakeOut, and more than 100,000 are already registered for this year’s 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.

“Missouri is home to one the largest active seismic zones in the country,” State Emergency Management Agency Acting Director Jim Remillard said. “Because earthquakes occur without warning, it is especially important to participate in the ShakeOut drill and practice now, so you know exactly what to do when the shaking starts.”

At exactly 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15, participants will practice “Drop, Cover, Hold On”:

  • DROP to your hands and knees;
  • COVER your head and neck with your hands and arms under a table or desk if you can;


  • HOLD ON until the shaking stops.

Studies show that in developed countries with modern construction standards, falling debris is the most common source of injuries in an earthquake. Experts advise that when an earthquake occurs in the U.S., dropping, covering and holding on is the best way to protect yourself 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, averages 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 likely would cause damage in southern and eastern Missouri, including the St. Louis area.

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


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