Registration is open for the annual Great Central U. S. “ShakeOut” earthquake drill, which teaches how people should protect themselves if an earthquake strikes.

More than 2.5 million people in 14 states, including more than 400,000 Missourians, are already signed up for this brief exercise that takes place at 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15.

During the ShakeOut, participants practice the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” technique for 60 seconds:

• DROP to the ground

• Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and

• HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops

“The ShakeOut drill is an important way we can all prepare for an earthquake in Missouri,” said Missouri State Emergency Management Agency Director Ron Walker. “Unlike other natural disasters, earthquakes occur without warning. Knowing how to respond immediately is extremely important so we can protect ourselves.”

To sign up for the ShakeOut visit www.shakeout.org/centralus. Once registered, participants receive regular updates, including information on earthquake and disaster safety. The ShakeOut website also has many resources available, including manuals, videos, audio drill broadcasts, earthquake scenarios, and more.

The New Madrid Seismic Zone, which includes parts of southeast Missouri, has produced some of the largest earthquakes ever in the continental U.S. Experts say knowing how to respond when an earthquake occurs is an important step to practice before the next large event occurs.

A major earthquake in this area would produce damage in much of southern and eastern Missouri, including the St. Louis area.

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