CHICAGO – The annual Great ShakeOut earthquake drill will take place Oct. 15 at 10:15 a.m. local time across the United States and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 5 office wants everyone to Drop, Cover and Hold On with us, while learning the important steps to stay safe during an earthquake. 

In the past 25 years, scientists have learned that strong earthquakes in the central Mississippi Valley have occurred repeatedly in the geologic past and remain a serious risk today.

“Every day is earthquake season,” said Kevin M. Sligh, acting regional administrator, FEMA Region 5. “The best time to prepare for an earthquake is before it happens. Take the time to practice now and join the Great ShakeOut drill, so everyone in your family knows what to do to stay safe when the ground shakes.”

While COVID-19 may make this year’s ShakeOut look different, we still encourage you to participate at home or socially distanced. Protect yourself during an earthquake and remember these three steps:

  1. Drop (or Lock): Wherever you are, drop down to your hands and knees and hold onto something sturdy. If you’re using a wheelchair or walker with a seat, make sure your wheels are locked and remain seated until the shaking stops.
  2. Cover your head and neck with your arms. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows). Crawl only if you can reach better cover without going through an area with more debris. Stay on your knees or bent over to protect vital organs.
  3. Hold on: If you are under a table or desk, hold on with one hand and be ready to move with it if it moves. If seated and unable to drop to the floor, bend forward, cover your head with your arms and hold on to your neck with both hands.

The Great ShakeOut is free and open to the public. To take part in the ShakeOut, register to participate at www.shakeout.org.  

The Great ShakeOut is nationally sponsored by the United States Geological Survey, FEMA, and the National Science Foundation and is supported by multiple partner organizations. For additional earthquake information, visit www.ready.gov/earthquakes.

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FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.

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