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Thousands of Missourians to Participate in Great Central U.S. 'ShakeOut'

More than 345,000 Missourians are registered to participate in the 2022 Great Central U.S. ShakeOut.
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More than 345,000 Missourians are registered to participate in the 2022 Great Central U.S. ShakeOut.

Missourians may not think much about earthquakes, but experts say it is important to be mentally prepared.

This morning, hundreds of thousands of Missourians will participate in the Great Central U.S. "ShakeOut" earthquake preparedness drill.

At 10:20 a.m., participants will "drop, cover and hold on" in a drill simulating expert advice on the safest means to avoid injury in an earthquake, by avoiding falling debris. The drill involves dropping to your hands and knees, covering your head and neck with your hands and arms under a table or desk if you can, and holding on until the shaking stops.

Jeff Briggs, earthquake program manager for the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, said the old saw about getting into a doorway during an earthquake is not a safe approach.

"Getting to a doorway means you've got to run across a room, exposing yourself to falling debris," Briggs pointed out. "It means you're not covering up your head and getting underneath something to protect yourself from falling debris. And it also means if there's a door in that doorway, it might swing and hit you. So, there are many reasons that getting in the door is not the safest thing to do."

Briggs also noted most homeowners' or renters' insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage.

The threat of earthquakes in Missouri is related to the New Madrid seismic zone in the southeastern part of the state. The U.S. Geological Survey reports since 1974, thousands of small to moderate earthquakes have been recorded by seismometers in the New Madrid region.

Briggs added the New Madrid zone was responsible for some of the country's biggest temblors.

"Some of the largest earthquakes in U.S. history happened right here in southeast Missouri," Briggs explained. "If another big one like that happens, then people are going to feel it for hundreds of miles in every direction. In fact, for the one 200 years ago, there were written reports of shaking being felt all the way on the East Coast."

Experts recommend reviewing your emergency plan with family and friends to help prepare for the burdens an earthquake might bring. More info is available online at centralusquake.org.

Missouri Public News Service is a partner with KRCU Public Radio.

Brett brings 7 years of radio news writing experience at Metro Source. His reporting expertise is in monetary policy, economic systems, resource distribution, rent-seeking, and neo-feudalism.