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Earthquake Preparedness & the Great ShakeOut on February 7

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You only have seconds to react to an earthquake, so it’s important to know what to do when the ground starts shaking – and I know this all too well. In 2011, I was in Christchurch, New Zealand to discuss emergency management issues when the deadly quake struck. I found myself putting to use years of knowledge and tips we at FEMA use to inform the public on preparing for emergencies.

I saw the devastation firsthand, and it’s a stark reminder that no matter where we live – earthquakes strike without any warning. Another recent example is last August, when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Louisa County in Virginia; shaking was felt as far south as Georgia and as far north as Quebec, Canada. Because earthquakes are more common on the west coast, the “East Coast Quake” took most of us by surprise.

While we can’t prevent earthquakes or other disasters, we can take important steps to prepare for them, and I want to encourage everyone to join more than one million individuals, schools, businesses, governments, and other organizations across the central United States who will participate in the second annual Great Central U.S. ShakeOut on February 7, at 10:15 a.m. CDT. It is the largest earthquake preparedness event in central U.S. history.

It only takes a couple of minutes to participate in the drill and practice these three simple steps:

DROP to the ground
• Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops

If you’re on Twitter you can join the conversation by using this hashtag: #shakeout

Everyone plays a critical role in helping our nation become well-prepared. While we don’t know where or when the next earthquake will strike, preparing for them will help our entire country become more resilient in the face of a disaster. What we do now to prepare before a big earthquake will help us bounce back after an earthquake occurs.

So if you haven’t already, join us and register for the ShakeOut and visit for important earthquake preparedness tips that can help protect yourself and your loved ones in the event of an earthquake. You can also download the FEMA smartphone app (for Android and Apple devices) to access preparedness tips and an interactive emergency supply kit on your phone.

Last Updated: 
06/17/2012 - 11:58

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