Most of us do not consider North Carolina to be a major earthquake zone, but we are. On average, our state experiences 5 minor earthquakes each year. Most of these are very minimal on the scale and cause little damage. But we need to be prepared for the one that will be significant.
At 10:18 a.m. on October 18, 2012, millions of Southeastern residents will “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” in The Great Southeast Shake Out, the region’s largest earthquake drill ever! All museums, libraries, parks, science centers, and other public venues are encouraged to participate in the drill. An earthquake could happen anywhere you work, live, or travel in the Southeast. The “Shake Out” is your chance to practice how to protect yourself, and to help prepare everyone in your institution. The goal is to prevent a major earthquake from becoming a catastrophe for you, your organization, and your community.
Why is a drop-cover-hold on drill important? Just like “stop, drop, and roll” in fire prevention, to act quickly you must practice often. You may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake before strong shaking knocks you down or topples something over.
FEMA and North Carolina Emergency Management are co-sponsoring the event, along with other state and regional preparedness organizations. Institutions as well as individuals can register their Shake Out plans online at www.ShakeOut.org/southeast/register. In addition to visiting the website for helpful information, here are a few activities you can do at your institution to participate in Shake Out.
- Check your emergency supplies and equipment; make sure they are accessible and functional.
- Conduct a drill.
- Talk about what you would do (table top exercise).
- Inspect your facilities for items that might fall and cause injury, and secure them.
- Make sure critical staff members are prepared at home so they can report to work or stay on duty.
Has your institution ever experienced an earthquake? Have your facilities or collections been damaged in any way?