Missouri to Participate in "Great Central U.S. ShakeOut"

6 years 7 months 4 weeks ago Wednesday, April 13 2011 Apr 13, 2011 Wednesday, April 13, 2011 7:01:00 PM UTC April 13, 2011 in News
By: Jon Straub

JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Jay Nixon proclaimed April 28th "Great Central U.S. ShakeOut Day". This corresponds with the ShakeOut program that is pulling together 10 other states in the central United States to participate in earthquake drills throughout each state.

ShakeOut began in 2008 in southern California with more than 5 million participating in the drill. California's numbers have grown over the years and sparked similar drills starting not only the central United States, but also in British Columbia, New Zealand, and other states like Oregon.

The program in the middle of the country has 2 million signed up already. Nearly 400,000 of those are from Missouri, which is second only to the more than 500,000 in Indiana.

The program invites businesses, museums, organizations, families, and especially schools to participate. Schools make up more than half of those signed up in Missouri.

The program intends for the drills to help educate, and part of that is practicing the "Drop-Cover-and Hold on" technique.

Missouri's Earthquake Program Manager, Steve Besemer said, "The reality of the situation is that most people are killed or injured by, what we call, non-structural elements falling down on you."

The technique gives the best chance of being protected from such elements, and it even can protect you from the structural failures. Besemer says he has seen pictures of a school in California where the roof was stopped on the top of a desk.

Besemer and others have heard of the "triangle of life" idea that has been circulating in the Internet, and they don't approve of this idea because it has yet to be proven as a truly safe option for those in an earthquake.

However, above all else, Besemer says that it's important to get underneath something if you are inside or stay away from buildings if you are outside.

While Missouri does not experience earthquakes very often, three of the worst earthquakes in U.S. history occurred in the New Madrid region between 1811 and 1812. Programs like ShakeOut hope to prepare people for any quake that has the possibility of happening.

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