Millions expected to participate in massive Midwest earthquake drill

January 28, 2013|By Casey Castle

Local, state and federal officials all over the midwest are preparing for the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut Earthquake Drill scheduled for next week.

Feb. 7 is the 201st anniversary of the last of the 1811-12 earthquakes that destroyed the town of New Madrid, Mo. and created Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee, according to a press release from the Winchester-Clark County Emergency Management Agency.

Kentucky last felt an earthquake just months ago, when a 4.3 magnitude earthquake rattled eastern parts of the state just after noon on Nov. 10.

The massive drill is expected to involve more than 2 million participants. Locally, Clark County EMA Director Gary Epperson said schools and businesses will take part in the 15-minute drill that is slated to begin at 10:15 a.m. next Thursday.


“Downtown First director Tim Janes is going to try to get all the downtown businesses to participate,” Epperson said. “We’re going to get a lot of people on board.”

Last year, 2.4 million people took part.

The scheduled drill will be a “Drop, Cover and Hold On” drill, one that is meant to be easy to remember and the recommended protective action to take during an earthquake.

“Unlike the weather, earthquakes cannot be predicted,” Kentucky EMA Director John Heltzel said. “An earthquake similar to those experienced in 1811-12 would be catastrophic today, and that is why we should take time now to educate ourselves and practice this drill to better protect ourselves and lessen that impact.”

Preparing for an earthquake is much like the preparation for other natural and weather-related events.

According to the EMA, people should get an emergency supply kit, create a communications plan, stay informed of the risks in a community, check for hazards around the home, identify safe places inside the home and outdoors and educate yourself and family members.

Participants can register at to pledge their family, school, business or organization’s participation in the drill. Registrants will get information on earthquake preparedness, including how to plan the drill.

More information can be found at, which features a short video demonstrating the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” drill and information on contests where students could win an iPad or eReader.

Information on the Winchester-Clark County Emergency Management/CSEPP can be found at

Contact Casey Castle at

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