Thursday, businesses, schools and organizations across the central United States are scheduled to participate in an earthquake drill at 10:15 a.m. It is part of the Great ShakeOut Central U.S. to promote earthquake awareness and preparedness.
States participating include Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. All nine states could feel tremors from an earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, and most could feel the effects of a quake in the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone. The New Madrid Seismic Zone is responsible for three of the 10 most powerful earthquakes in the contiguous U.S.
Locally, John Livingston, area Warren County Emergency Services Disaster Agency coordinator, said the Monmouth Police Department and 911 dispatchers are participating in the drill. He added the threat for Warren County is "very minimal" with the worst effects anticipated bring items falling off of shelves and maybe windows breaking.
Earthquake preparedness tips are area available at 1330wram.com or 1590waik.com
Experts at the Great ShakeOut recommend that when you feel the earth shake, the first thing you should do is drop-get down on your hands and knees. Secondly, cover your head, neck, and, if possible, your entire body by getting underneath sturdy furniture. Only if there is no sturdy furniture nearby to take shelter under, then you should get down near an interior wall or next to low-lying furniture that will not fall on you, and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands. Then, hold on to the piece of sturdy furniture (or if there is no sturdy furniture, your head and neck) until the shaking stops.
When the earthquake stops, Safe Electricity has some additional safety tips for you to keep in mind:
In the home, do not use electronics, matches or lighters until you are sure there is no gas leak.
If you are in a severely damaged building, leave and go to an open space outside.
Be alert to dangers that could be hidden by debris, including downed power lines and broken gas pipes. If you hear hissing, smell gas or notice sagging or downed utility lines, stay away and alert the utility(s).
Warn and keep others away from downed power lines. Buildings, trees, cars, debris, even other utility lines and other objects can become electrical hazards if they are in contact with a power line, so be cautious.
If you can do so safely, turn off electricity at the main breaker; don't if your house is unstable or you must stand in water to do so. Overturned and damaged water heaters and damaged electric circuitry can cause explosions and fires. Turning off electricity prevents this.
If you smell gas or suspect a leak, get out of the house. Once outside call 9-1-1, and notify your gas utility. If you can, shut of the main gas valve. Find the shut-off valve at your gas meter, and twist it with a wrench in either direction until it is off. Do not turn the gas back on; only a professional can safely do this.
Aftershocks can be just as powerful as earthquakes. Be prepared, and practice the same safety procedures you would during an earthquake.
Don't enter damaged property after the earthquake unless you are certain the electricity and gas have been shut off.
Find out how you can participate in the Great ShakeOut and learn more about earthquake safety, visit www.shakeout.org/centralus. For more on electrical safety, visit SafeElectricity.org.