February 14, 2013

More than 575,000 Missourians participate in Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake drill

Record number from schools, colleges, businesses and families across the state take part in Feb. 7 drill

More than one half million Missourians participated in Thursday's Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake drill, according to a preliminary tally by organizers of the nine state earthquake drill. The Feb. 7 drill took place on the 201st anniversary of an earthquake centered in New Madrid, Mo. that was the largest ever to hit the central United States.
In all, more than 2.9 million residents of the central U.S. states of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee took part in the drill, including more than 579,000 in Missouri. In Missouri, ShakeOut participation increased by more than 25 percent from 2012, from 462,317 participants in 2012 to 579,069 this year. Among all nine states, participation rose by almost 21 percent.
"I'm very pleased that a record number of Missourians participated in the third Great Central U.S. ShakeOut drill," said State Emergency Management Agency Director Donald L. King. "This is another indicator that interest in disaster preparedness and safety planning continues to grow among Missourians."
The drill, which took place simultaneously throughout the region at 10:15 a.m. Feb. 7, instructed participants to "Drop, Cover, and Hold On” – drop to the floor, cover yourself under a desk or table, and hold on to it until the shaking stops.
ShakeOut participants included more than 460,000 school children, teachers and staff throughout Missouri, and more than 33,000 participants at colleges and universities. The ShakeOut was coordinated by the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC).
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 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.
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. Even now, more than 200 small quakes a year occur in the region.
For more information on Missouri earthquake history, geology and other resources, visit the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency's Earthquake Preparedness page at


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