“Join October 16 Earthquake Drill: Drop, Cover and Hold On!”

Dear Editor,

 The largest earthquake ever to rattle North America occurred in 1811 in New Madrid, Missouri, near southern Illinois. If a similar quake struck the same spot today - according to a 2008 University of Illinois study - the impact would be catastrophic: 3,500 fatalities, 2.6 million people without electricity, $300 billion in direct economic losses. The region’s hospitals, roads, bridges, fuel pipelines and water infrastructure would be in shambles.
 Most of southern Illinois sits atop one of two major fault zones - the New Madrid Seismic Zone and Wabash Valley Seismic Zone - but as recently as 2010, the Sandwich Fault Zone in northern Illinois rumbled. A quake can happen anywhere, at any time.

 That’s why I invite every Illinois resident, school and business to pause on October 16 at 10:16 a.m., to join the “world’s largest earthquake drill”, during which millions of people will practice the life-saving “Drop, Cover and Hold On” procedure.

 The 4th Annual Great Central U.S. ShakeOut is a grass-roots emergency preparedness drill designed to help residents think about what to do before, during and after an earthquake. The drill focuses on the protective actions we should take when a quake begins:
• “Drop” to the floor;
• take “Cover” under a sturdy desk or table, and
• “Hold On” until the shaking stops.

 You can register for the drill at www.shakeout.org/centralus, where you will find expert advice about earthquake preparedness. It only takes a minute to register online for the Great ShakeOut and just seconds to participate in the drill itself, but the lessons learned could make a life-or-death difference.
 In recent years, Illinois has been slammed by natural calamities: floods, tornadoes, drought, blizzards. On the state’s preparedness website - www.Ready.Illinois.gov - residents can find tips for emergency planning, such as building a survival kit, creating escape routes and family reunification plans, and caring for pets.

 Last year, 523,000 Illinoisans participated in the Great ShakeOut, the largest emergency drill in our State’s history. Be part of the 2014 ShakeOut. Register today.


Jonathon Monken
Illinois Emergency Management Agency

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